Agriculture Ministry to absorb Agribusdev employees

June 09, 2023

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform says it will absorb at least 32 former employees of the Agricultural and Business Development Agency (Agribusdev), a state-owned company, which was dissolved.

The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, said the integration process including that of employees who resorted under Agronomic and Engineering Services, began in 2022 and is continuing. 

"We should take note that what has ceased to exist is the company itself. At the moment the employees are housed in the Ministry and are currently acting as a support team to the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES).

“This is an interim arrangement that has been put in place while the absorption process is being finalised, and the Ministry has made budgetary provision to cater for their salaries, as we cannot afford to send them in the streets," Schlettwein said.

The minister made these remarks in parliament, in response to queries raised by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) memberJennifer  Van Den Heever. 

Van Den Heever wanted to know how far the process of wounding up mismanaged AgriBusdev has gone, the status of employees and equipment.

“The status of the implements on farms has since improved thanks to the budget allocation of 40 million to the Green Scheme Projects during the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework budget review of 2022/203. This budget was used to procure inputs and repair some of the implements on the farms that enabled the Ministry to plant about 776 ha of summer crops across the spectrum," the minister explained.

With regards to benefits, Schlettwein stated that 32 employees to be absorbed will not receive any severance package because they're not retrenched, thus they will continue to receive their remuneration and benefits as per the integration structures.

AgriBusdev was established in 2011 to run 11 national green schemes, but years later the company was facing the axe following rampant mismanagement and financial irregularities.

In 2021 cabinet directed that the company must be wound up and green schemes be offered and run privately.

Government at the time promised that no jobs would be lost, and in his address, Schlettwein, said around 285 employees at the green schemes will be taken over by the incoming service providers who will take over the projects.

Following the Cabinet decision, the Ministry mobilised funds to put five Green Schemes, namely, Sikondo, Etunda, Shadikongoro, Uuvhungu-Vungu Crop Production section, and Ndonga Linena Green Schemes under production.

 A total of 776 hectares is under irrigation and an average of 7,000 tonnes of white maize is expected to be harvested.

Schlettwein said these efforts will double the harvest of last year's maize which was realized from Musese, Mashare and Shitemo Green Schemes.

"If all goes according to plan, the expected total harvest of 14 000 metric tonnes of maize, which excludes the small and medium scales farmers produce, will exceed the capacity of the National Strategic Food Reserve facilities which currently stands at 11,000 metric tonnes," he said.

In addition, the minister confirmed that the Ministry invited expressions of interest from both foreign and domestic investors.

However, it is important to inform the nation that first priority shall be given to 100% Namibian-owned entities or persons and in the absence of 100% Namibian ownership, companies in which Namibian ownership represents 51% while 49% is foreign-owned can be considered,"

This is after Van Den Heever wanted to know what drastic measures has the government deployed to ensure that the green schemes remain productive.

As such the minister said, white maize local demand from April to December 2022 was 136 204 metric tonnes of which 97,534 tonnes were locally produced and 38,670 tonnes imported.

"The current good rain experienced in the country combined with the revival of the Green Scheme projects means that the country is on its way to self-sufficiency when it comes to white maize and it is my hope that it is achieved by 2024/2025," he said.







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Last modified on Monday, 12 June 2023 13:47

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