Following the successful implementation of the first phase of the Tripartite Agreement on South-South Cooperation between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture – signed in 2015 – the two governments met again in Windhoek to set the stage for commencement of the second phase of the initiative.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said the MoU between Namibia and China on South-South Cooperation would serve as an umbrella framework for the practical implementation of the second phase of the FAO, Namibia-China South-South Cooperation projects, while making further provision for the participation of the private sector, from both countries, in the advancement of the venture, with particular emphasis on value addition to agriculture products.
“We highly welcome the private sector’s participation as it accelerates the implementation of the public-private partnership policy and fast-tracks the achievement of our agricultural development and food security goals that are stipulated in the national high-level policy documents, such as Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” Mutorwa said.
The minister expressed his satisfaction with the tangible positive results that he said emanated from the successful implementation of the first phase of the South-South Cooperation project in Namibia.
Addressing the Chinese delegation that was headed by that country’s Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Qu Dongyu, Mutorwa revealed that under the first phase of the project, 15 Chinese agricultural experts were dispatched to Namibia, where they imparted valuable technical knowledge and skills to Namibian farmers and technicians.
Among the team’s contributions to the agricultural sector is the invaluable expertise on various technologies that the Chinese agricultural experts brought to Namibia, as well as information on new rice varieties that are suitable to Namibian climatic condition.
The minister encouraged the private sector of both countries to embrace and explore the business opportunities presented by the project’s second phase by forging functionally smart and mutually beneficial partnerships.
However, Mutorwa said that although the two countries have entered into numerous agreements, not all signed agreements were implemented, amongst them, the agreement on animal health and quarantine which was signed in Beijing in 2011. This agreement was driven by the two countries’ mutual interest to trade in beef and aquatic products.
“Namibia notes with concern that a number of years have passed since the agreement was signed but its implementation has not yet started. I am advised that the delay is allegedly attributed to the two countries’ veterinary experts’ divergent positions on the beef import requirements related to lumpy skin disease,” he said.
Mutorwa therefore urged the two countries to fast-track the implementation process and make sure all projects are implemented as per agreement.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture Qu gave the assurance that all projects and programmes that fall under the second phase would be implemented as per the MoU.
“I am a man of action and I always try to make sure that what is on paper translates into action,” he said