Yogyakarta- Namibia up to now is attempting to develop several varieties of rice because the country still imports rice from other countries, such as South Africa. Due to limited stock and production of rice, Namibian people rarely consume rice. They consume it only in special occasions. “Very few Namibian people consume rice and only for special events, such as Christmas, etc. So far, they consume tubers or corn more,” said Prof. Luke Kanyomeka from University of Namibia in discussion at Center for World Trade Studies UGM, Monday (14/2).
The limited rice stock and production causes the price of rice in Namibia relatively expensive. With this condition, Luke and several other researchers from University of Namibia are currently developing several varieties of rice such as IR 30, WITA 1, and WITA 2. Luke admitted that, rice development concept in Indonesia is almost the same as that in Namibia,” Luke added.
Besides, not many Namibian farmers have developed rice technology while irrigation technology has not been understood well. Luke mentioned that because almost all daily needs in Namibia are from imports, the focus of activities are on increasing rice production and shortening trade route which normally through South Africa. “The price of rice is expensive because of the long trade route through South Africa,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Head of the Center, Prof. Dr. Ir. Masyhuri, Ph.D., assisted by Secretary of the Center, Drs. Riza Noer Arfani, M.A., said that though having population of 2 million thousands, Namibia still studies much about agricultural development concept and technology, including from Indonesia.
Indonesia and Namibia, according to Masyhuri, actually have a similarity, which is importing rice. However, Indonesia is still one of the biggest producers as well as rice exporters. Particularly dealing with relation with Namibia, there is a network between Center for World Trade Studies and Faculty of Economics and Law, University of Namibia, related to WTO Chairs Programme (WCP). “Coincidentally, we have cooperation related to WCP with University of Namibia,” said Masyhuri.