WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will continue supporting farmers and conservancies through the Innovative Grant Mechanism (IGM) of the Country Pilot Partnership Programme for Integrated Sustainable Land Management (CPP - ISLM).
This undertaking was made on Wednesday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry during the International Conference on Sustainable Land and Natural Resources currently underway in Windhoek. Khomas Governor, Samuel Nuuyoma, officially opened the proceedings on Wednesday.
Through its innovative grant mechanism, the government has over the past five years approved small grants for community-based income generation projects that promote sustainable land management and value addition to natural resources.
According to Sophia Kasheeta, Director of Engineering in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, who made official remarks on behalf of Minister John Mutorwa, the ministry will continue to support projects that reduce pressure on land and lead people to attach economic value to land conservation.
"Individuals and communities should adopt practices which are responsive to various climate conditions. We must practise and promote drought and flood mitigation techniques and technologies in our country," said Kasheeta. These types of projects range from honey production to the development of more sophisticated and environmentally friendly products such as peanut butter, cooking oil, marula jam and juice production.
The government has since 2009 supported 23 community projects with close to five million dollars for initiatives that support sustainable land use.
As a pilot programme the Country Pilot Partnership is unique to Africa.
In fact, only one other African country, namely Burkina Faso, has implemented a similar programme.
In Namibia, the programme is implemented in two five-year phases at national and local levels.
The first phase is drawing to a close this year, while the second phase will run until 2017. One of the key goals of the programme is to increase people's ability to analyse and explore different options for using land in each region, constituency or village.
It is envisaged that through this type of education intervention land degradation will be severely curtailed, thereby improving the livelihoods of rural communities across the country.
Land degradation is the loss of productive capacity of land as a result of over-grazing, soil erosion, bush encroachment, irrigation deforestation and desertification.
The CPP - ISLM is a close partnership between eight government ministries, while the other partners include UN agencies, civil society organisations and the private sector.
The partnership approach recognises that addressing the problem of land degradation requires collaboration to improve Namibia's land management practices. The conference is scheduled to end on Friday.