There are 517 million farms in the world, of which 475 million are small scale farms where business is conducted on less than two hectares of land.
This is among many interesting facts that emerged at the National CA Stakeholders’ Workshop in Windhoek last week. Albert Engel, Country Director and General Representative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), addressed the workshop. GIZ is one of the international partners of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) in the Comprehensive CA Programme of N$94 million launched earlier this year. Engel informed the workshop about the multiple challenges facing the agricultural sector worldwide, with specific reference to Namibia as the driest country south of the Sahara.
“Degradation of soil and climate change are the two biggest destroyers of the basis of farmers’ future and the two phenomenons are directly linked,” he informed.
He says while the two don’t cause immediate damage they are silent killers as they march on and affect Namibia in particular that already has an acute water scarcity, thus making the retention of the soil’s fertility extremely difficult.
“CA, in its various forms, has proven to be effective in combatting soil degradation and retaining moisture, even in exceptional dry periods, and CA has the potential to increase yields significantly as has been proven in the more than three decades CA has been practiced in many countries around the globe,” Engel notes.
Despite all the successes of CA, he stresses that the system must be adapted in every country to ensure it is tailor-made for the specific circumstances.
“Just as important, is for us all to change our mindsets about destructive ways of farming, but at least CA offers solutions to many immediate problems.”
Engel goes on to caution against expecting miracles overnight with CA farming while assuring that yields will increase over time thus contributing to food security.