Namibia has already committed itself fully to the Africa Union / New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD) in Abuja, Nigeria in June 2006 in an attempt to recognise the need to rapidly accelerate access to, affordability of, and incentives to use fertilisers alongside with other agricultural inputs such as Conservation Agriculture (CA) to stimulate sustainable pro-poor productivity growth in Africa.
Namibia started this process ten years ago but some of the government subsidies were either halted or privatised due to lack of funds. The Comprehensive CA Programme, launched in Windhoek last week, aims to increase awareness and knowledge of CA among stakeholders, including farmers, extension workers, researchers and policy – and decision-makers; increase farmers’ and extension workers’ skills of practicing CA; conduct farmer-focused research and to develop appropriate CA technologies and packages for the farming systems. I also aims to establish institutional arrangements for harmonised and coordinated implementation of the CA programme; ensure farmers have sustained access to CA equipment, inputs, markets and services and; develop standards, and then monitor and evaluate adoption and impact of the programme.
The programme will target all crop producers in Namibia, encouraging them to adopt CA practices, depending on the resources available to them. The programme also aims at providing government assistance in a form of subsidy to: Communal crop and livestock producers concentrated in Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango-East, Kavango-West, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Kunene, Omaheke regions; as well as Hardap, Erongo and //Kharas regions. As well as commercially rain-fed farmers where apllicable, including resettlement farmers, affirmative action farmers and irrigation farmers in the maize triangle and elsewhere and farmers as categorized in Horticultural Programmes. Farmers from the GRN Green Scheme Irrigation projects (commercial irrigation schemes with some rain-fed cropping, large scale service providers and associated medium scale emerging farmers), farming along the perennial rivers in the extreme Northwest, northeast and south of the country and near the Country’s dams elsewhereare also included.
This programme is structured, conceptualised and will be implemented in line with National Development Priorities as stipulated in Vision 2030 and the Fourth National Development Programme (NDP4). The programme is complementary to existing government projects and programmes, e.g. Rain-Fed Crop Production Programme, Green Scheme Programme, Horticultural Projects, etc.
The key interventions of the CA programme are as follows: awareness creation; coordination of activities;
establishment of evidence base for CA; development of standards for M&E; technologies packaging; capacity building of research, extension, training and engineering services; capacity building of farmers; equipment, inputs and services;research methods and topics; and marketing.