His Excellency, Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba, President of Namibia, has been awarded the 2010 FANRPAN Food Security Policy Leadership Award. The award was announced in Windhoek, Namibia at the FANRPAN Annual Regional Policy Dialogue on Thursday night.
President Pohamba and his government have been instrumental in creating responsible fisheries policies in Namibia which have already been recognised by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation in 2009.
President Pohamba of Namibia says:
“Our industrial fisheries will continue to develop in a sustainable manner. We are keen to capitalize on the gains we have made since independence, to greater benefits of all Namibians. The creation of the Namibian fisheries sector is a success story par excellence. Today, it is considered a model of rigorous management of one of the world's richest fishing grounds, which is still recovering from severe overfishing in the 1970s and 1980s. But it is also a story of government determination to make sure the bounty would be shared among as many citizens as possible, from illiterate villagers to middle managers to a new cadre of fisheries inspectors and patrol officers to businessmen and civil servants.”
The FANRPAN Food Security Policy Leadership Award is given to individuals and organizations that have made lasting contributions through policy formulation and implementation, appropriate technology or innovation to food security in FANRPAN member states.
Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive, FANRPAN, says:
“Africa is neither poor nor incapable of feeding itself, but it needs more fresh initiatives to promote food security, policy development and poverty alleviation. Visionary people such as President Pohamba help create policies for a food-secure Africa.”
The fishing industry has grown to the extent that it is currently Namibia’s second biggest export earner of foreign currency after mining (90% of national output is marketed for export). In 2005, Namibia harvested about 552,164 tonnes of fish. The final value of processed products (export value) that year was around US$376.0 million. In 2005 the sector contributed US$372.2.1 million to GDP, compared with US$97.8 million in 1996.
The fishing industry contributes 14,000 new jobs in a population of 1.7 million people. Many of these Namibian employees, whose remittances support with remittances whole villages in the populous north of the country.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, established in 1991, has had to build almost from scratch the full range of research and surveillance programmes that are the basic components of any fisheries administration, and the legal and regulatory framework to govern the fisheries sector. Since independence, Namibia has put in place three key strategies in fisheries policy:
- Stock rebuilding: to rebuild stocks depleted by overfishing before independence.
- Namibianisation: to redress the pre-independence foreign domination of the fisheries sector through integrating the fisheries sector into the Namibian economy and society so that the jobs and incomes generated from rebuilt stocks are secured by Namibians.
- Empowerment: to ensure that the stranglehold on Namibian participation in the fisheries sector by a small section of the Namibian population at independence is not perpetuated, and to ensure that there is increasingly broad and balanced participation in the sector by Namibians of all backgrounds.
Since 2008, FANRPAN has awarded its FANRPAN Food Security Policy Leadership Award. Past recipients have been the President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Ngwazi, Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika (2008) for exceptional leadership in steering Malawi out of food insecurity within a short period of time and the President of the Republic of Mozambique, His Excellency, Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique for spearheading Mozambique’s recent Green Revolution.
The award, sponsored by FANRPAN and its partners, comes with a non-monetary prize related to furthering the recipient’s efforts to ensure food security. These can include agricultural inputs, technology or equipment, learning tours and other capacity building opportunities.
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