Farmers taught how to navigate economic crisis

20 Jul 2018

Economies go through cycles and farmers must manage their farms and finances in such a way that they can go through challenging economic times with ease.

This was said by the first guest speaker at the annual congress of the Agricultural Employers Association, René Olivier, when he spoke about economic prospects for Namibia and the farmer.

According to the latest issue of the Namibia Agricultural Union newsletter, the congress was held on 12 June and was attended by 53 delegates from 42 farmers' associations.

“In good times, make provision for poor times by, inter alia, saving money. Money market funds at financial institutions are a good option for this,” Olivier said, adding that it will take about two years before the Namibian economy can grow again.

“We will be lucky if we grow by 3% by 2020,” he said.

Olivier said inflation is expected to increase by between 4% and 5% in the next few years, but interest rates will not increase in 2018 and 2019.

“Farms are businesses and a business must have sustainable and competing values. Competition is where profits are made, and investors want to invest there.”

Olivier said although farmers do not have control over certain aspects such as drought, meat prices and the weather, they have control over the management of their farms.

The second guest speaker, Schalk Pienaar, of the Pupkewitz group, said the young people of today have a negative attitude towards farming and thus there are not enough young people on farms.

“The reasons for this are that farming is labour intensive and skilled workers are scarce; it takes high capital costs; they are situated far from everything and they get lonely; there is the danger of farm attacks and uncertainty about ownership,” Pienaar said.

He said these factors should be addressed in order to turn the negative picture of agriculture around so that it will be attractive again for young people to farm.