Climate centre planned for Mashare

 

Windhoek – Mashare Agricultural Development Institute will soon be transformed into a Climate Resilient Agriculture Centre of Excellence as one of the activities that will contribute to attaining a long-term positive impact in the agricultural sector.

It is part of two projects that Namibia for which funding has been secured through the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF), which Namibia successfully capitalised on through its accreditation by accessing close to N$300 million in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) towards local sustainable development projects.

This follows the 14th meeting of the GCF that took place in South Korea from October 12 to 14, where two of Namibia’s project proposals in conservation agriculture and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) were approved.

Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa said such a centre would build capacity among farmers, as alternative-farming practices will be introduced through various training programmes with more than 7 000 farmers targeted as beneficiaries during the first five years. Similarly, he said, the piloting of a crop failure insurance scheme for communal crop farmers is another activity that government looks forward to implementing.

“This is groundbreaking for Namibia and I hope it will be successful and scaled up to relieve pressure on our drought relief expenditures that have proven unsustainable. I would therefore like to invite private firms to be part of this revolution,” he said. He is hopeful the two projects will contribute significantly towards ensuring the sustainability of the country’s natural resources, improving food insecurity, and building capacity among crop growing farmers and forest resource users.

He said the possibilities for scalability are enormous and his ministry will work with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Namibia National Reinsurance Corporation (Nambre), among other stakeholders, to ensure Namibia introduces a model that will be successful. With regards to the CBNRM project, Mutorwa expressed gratitude that community forests will be able to access grant funding for forest management activities.

“The lack of financial resources has been a challenge over the past years to adequately implement measures that address forest fires, value addition on forest resources and many more,” he noted. Further, he said community forests have the potential to create economic opportunities vital for the livelihood and wellbeing of communities and it is therefore commendable that forest management is included in this project.

Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta last week announced out of N$300 million, half would be used for conservation agriculture projects in the Zambezi, Kavango East and West regions. Its aim, he says, is to reduce food insecurity and vulnerability to climate risk and threats, while increasing the adaptive capacity, wellbeing and resilience of vulnerable small-scale farming communities who are threatened by climate variability and change.

Shifeta said the project will directly and indirectly benefit some 16 000 farmers and will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry as from February 2017. The crop production projects include production of maize, sorghum and mahangu, while some also include horticulture components.

Mutorwa meanwhile also admitted that the Namibia Comprehensive Conservation Programme that he launched in October last year failed to yield the desired results due to a lack of finances. The aim of the programme is to transition the agriculture sector towards improved and sustained productivity and food security.

Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia