Agriculture is one of Namibia’s most important sectors, with the majority of Namibia’s population dependent directly or indirectly on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. Agriculture’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) (excluding fishing) over the last five years has been just over four percent. Livestock farming comprises approximately two-thirds of agricultural production, with crop farming and forestry making up the remaining third of production. Namibia is the most arid country south of the Sahara Desert with low average and highly variable rainfall. Drought is a perennial challenge, and the lack of water is an ever-present constraint in most parts of the country. This climate means that the potential for arable agriculture is generally limited, and agricultural potential is therefore confined mainly to livestock farming and high value crops such as dates and grapes, which are focused on the export market. However, climate-smart farming is gaining more attention as a needed area for development to allow Namibia to reap more from its agriculture sector. Namibia is a signatory of the Cartagena Protocol. The Biosafety Act of 2006 governs the use/importation of bio-engineered (genetically modified) crops.
· Marketing and distribution of indigenous plants
· Highly efficient irrigation systems including solar/wind powered systems
· Farming equipment and machinery
· Desalination plant equipment
Desalination: Over the next five years Namibia will construct a desalination plant and bulk water infrastructure to supply 20,000 megaliters of water per annum to Namibia’s arid central coastal region. The government is implementing the project through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and is looking for partners.
“Green Schemes”: The government has 11 “Green Scheme” irrigation projects aimed at increasing local agricultural production – by the end of 2023 – on 9,000 hectares along the perennial rivers bordering Namibia. To better leverage private capital and ensure sustained production and productivity of the green schemes, the government has decided to lease the 11 green schemes, with competitive outsourcing as the first option.
Neckartal Dam: Namibia’s largest dam, the Neckartal dam in the south of the country, can hold up to 857 million cubic meters of water. The dam’s primary purpose is to irrigate 5,000 hectares of high-value crops such as palm dates, grapes, and other fruits and vegetables for the export market. While the dam itself was inaugurated in March 2020, the irrigation component remains incomplete. The Namibian government is looking for private sector partners to run the project.
Livestock Farming: Livestock farming contributes approximately two-thirds of agricultural production in Namibia, and Namibia’s beef and sheep products are free from genetically modified organisms and the cattle are fed on rangeland. The sector already supplies high quality beef, sheep, and goat products to international markets. In March 2020, Namibia became the first and only African country to export beef to the United States. Investment opportunities exist in value chain activities, particularly meat processing and related industries such as canning, tannery, and leather products. Veterinary service provision, animal vaccine, and medicine production may offer equally viable investment opportunities.