Namibia drafting Irrigation Master Plan

October 06, 2023

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform says it is working on an Irrigation Master Plan to enable the government to keep track of progress in developing additional hectares of land under irrigation. 

According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Anna Shigwedha, the plan encompasses the use of different irrigation systems in Namibia and it is set to be finalised in six months. 

The Depuy Minister said the ministry has identified 52,000 hectares of potential irrigable land for development in the country.

She said the government, through studies, initially identified 47,000 hectares and recently added 5,000 hectares for agricultural production under irrigation in different regions of the country, bringing the total irrigation potential of Namibia to 52,000 hectares.

“This identified irrigation potential formed the basis for the establishment of the green scheme projects that the Ministry has been implementing in different regions. As a first phase of the green scheme initiative, over the years, the government has been making efforts to develop 27,000 (up to 2030) hectares for irrigation purposes. So far, there are 11,000 hectares under irrigation production countrywide of which 5,640 hectares are in the green scheme projects,” she said.

Shigwedha said the government's goal is to put all the identified potential arable land under irrigation, using different irrigation systems that are suitable for the Namibian climate and soil conditions, including drip irrigation.

“It is important to highlight here that while the drip irrigation system is the most effective system in terms of water efficiency and crop yields, it requires high initial investment capital to be established and is susceptible to clogging when used in saline soils such as those of Namibia. In addition, it needs good quality water and cannot be used for crops, such as cereals,” she said.

The Deputy Minister further explained that the dry nature of Namibia and the unpredictable rainfall patterns make it almost impossible for the country to achieve its goals of food security and food self-sufficiency through a dependent crop production system alone.

She said the government took a deliberate decision to promote cereal and horticultural production under irrigation to complement crop production under rain-fed conditions in order to speed up national food production.

“As a background, it is important to inform this August House that the overall goal of the government is to increase cereal and horticultural production in order to close the current food import gap and to ensure national food security and ultimately strive towards the attainment of food self-sufficiency,” Shigwedha said

Drip irrigation is an affordable and common technology for small farmers as it is subsidised by the government while commercial farmers favour using overhead irrigation systems such as pivots, and sprinklers.


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Last modified on Monday, 09 October 2023 12:10

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