Green schemes face 54% budget cut

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Green schemes face 54% budget cut
Green schemes face 54% budget cut

Africa-Press – Namibia. The budgetary allocation for State-run green schemes across the country has been slashed by a staggering 54% to N$65 million.

This revelation by deputy minister of agriculture Anna Shiweda was made last week while motivating the ministry’s budget for the 2024/2025 financial year.

Shiweda admitted the reduced budget allocation will partially disrupt their plans to bring all green schemes countrywide to optimal capacity in terms of productivity and overall output.

“It is pertinent to underscore that the green schemes were transferred back to the ministry in a dilapidated state, and they require substantial recapitalisation to bring them back to full production. Therefore, there is a need to allocate more funds for the operation of these green schemes, while at the same time fulfilling its mandate to support small-scale farmers, create employment and improve the livelihoods of our communities,” said Shiweda.

The N$120 million allocation from the previous financial year’s budget was primarily used for the repair and maintenance of ageing irrigation infrastructure, procurement of new tractors and implements, as well as the procurement of production inputs.

Regarding the Neckartal Dam Phase 2 irrigation project, the ministry has acquired 19 137 hectares (ha) of land at the cost of N$19 million – and so far, 500ha is ready for development.

“To this end, the ministry is in the process of procuring consultancy services for the design and development of the irrigation system for the 500ha, which is in the immediate proximity of the dam. In order to optimally intensify production at our green scheme projects, N$400 million is still required during the 2024/25 financial year. This amount includes the funds required for further development of the Etunda Irrigation Project and total overhaul of green schemes to enable them to operate uninterrupted for the next 15 to 20 years,” she said.

In essence, especially when equated against the N$400 million the minister says is still required to optimise all green schemes countrywide, the current allocation of N$65 million represents 16% of the required amount.

“While we acknowledge the fact that the ministry received funds from international financial institutions, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), it is imperative to point out that these funds are strictly dedicated to specific projects, such as the Namibia Agriculture Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (NAMSIP) and others,” she added.

Under the Neckartal Dam Phase 2 irrigation project, the government aims to boost agricultural yields in the //Karas region by enhancing water supply to farmers.

The irrigation systems under phase two of the project will be supplied with water pumped from the Neckartal dam, which is 78.5m high and 518m long, forming a basin covering an area of 39 km2. The current retention capacity of the dam is 857 million m3 of water.

Through the national green schemes programme, the government strives to make Namibia self-sufficient in food production by increasing crop production throughput at all production levels, creating employment opportunities and boosting the sector’s overall contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

The green scheme programme is designed to maximise irrigation potentials in the central, northern and north-eastern regions, using the Kunene, Zambezi and Kavango rivers, as well as to promote agro-projects in the south, using the Orange River, Naute, Hardap and Neckartal dams.

The programme also strives to increase land under irrigation through infrastructure development of the existing irrigation projects, which need improvements and expansions.

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