Drawing on data from the study of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and average yield results as reported by CONTILL from 2005 to 2011, Farmers Forum arrived at the following production volumes projections of mahangu comparing conventional methods with NSCA:
Attainable rain-fed maize yields, as recorded by CONTILL, evidence 4 400 kg per hectare in Kavango East, and 3 400 kg per hectare in the Oshana region under the NSCA method. Both regions have a lower average rainfall than the Maize Triangle.
For the farmers in the Maize Triangle relying on rain-fed production, switching to NSCA could mean a likely increase from the current average of 2 010 kg of maize yields per hectare (Namibia Agronomic Board [NAB] statistics 2009 – 2015) to at least double. Below are the dry-land white maize production statistics from the Maize Triangle (Source: NAB):
With the current drought, the worst in 40 years, coupled with the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) restrictions, there exists a humanitarian emergency for rural farming households, as well as a serious environmental disaster due to soil erosion in conventionally farmed fields and severe over-grazing.
“As a result of the experience of those farmers who practiced NSCA, this season the current demand for NSCA ripper furrowing is unprecedented. Currently, there are 27 private sector service providers, mainly financed through the Cooperation League of the USA (CLUSA) – Kongalend Financial Services cooperation catering for rip furrow services to thousands of farmers who have been introduced to CA through various projects. The potential for creating national staple food security is enormous as long as more and more farmers are empowered to switch to rain-fed NSCA methods.” says Inomusa Nyati from CLUSA Namibia.
Since then NSCA has been actively taken up at various stages by no less than six local organisations, which has enabled continuity and recording of steadily rising yields of both maize and mahangu as the soils improve. CONTILL and these interventions have shown that:
• soil degradation can be reversed;
• rain-fed yields can be increased by up to 1 000% in the communal areas;
• deforestation can be brought under control;
• an holistic approach of bringing together crop and livestock is beneficial;
• farming household food security is attainable even under severe drought conditions;
• surplus to create national food security is possible if 150 000 hectares were put under NSCA methods; and
• demand for service provision of ripper furrow land provision continues to rise.