The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and partners in Namibia regard Conservation Agriculture (CA) as an optional approach for all farming households to manage agro-ecosystems for improved and sustained productivity and food security, while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment.
Responding to questions by Farmers Forum regarding the achievements of the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP) since its inception last March, senior public relations officer of the MAWF Margaret Kalo said to complement existing national initiatives in achieving national food security, the MAWF formulated the CCAP via a stakeholder consultation process.
“Whilst the MAWF developed the CCAP recognising the development opportunity provided by climate-smart Conservation Agriculture (CA) and complementary Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) as a suitable approach in our farming systems, it is imperative to note that adoption constraints at all levels must be overcome to mainstream CA in a targeted manner involving all stakeholders who have a role in ensuring its success,” she notes.
She notes that the sequential implementation of the CCAP interventions was initiated immediately with its official launching on March 17, 2015. “The MAWF is satisfied with the CCAP implementation outcomes to date, including the planned activities by all role players during 2016, and comments all stakeholders for their commitment and support in this endeavour,” she observed.
“As for any programmatic procedure, the CCAP interventions were reviewed and endorsed without major changes at the National CA Conference in October 2015 by 230 participants representing 73 institutions for continual implementation in 2016. With such notable stakeholder interest and backing, moreover their agreement with CCAP implementation modalities, the MAWF is confident that all overall targeted interventions will be achieved by 2019,” she assures.
Kalo further points out that the N$94 million announced at the launch of the project are not funds that are available, but merely the required budgetary resources for the implementation of CCAP over its five years. The figure does also not account for interventions, products and services provided by the government of Namibia under other ongoing and planned programmes.
However, it is commendable that MAWF and stakeholders have to date secured substantial resources that enabled the collective and satisfactory implementation of CCAP interventions.
CCAP progress highlights for 2015 as reported to the MAWF by various stakeholders include:
Mobilisation of external resources (N$20million) from development partners such as the EU, FAO, GIZ, NAFOLA and SCORE to support MAWF in the implementation of CA in Namibia.
Successful hosting of the 2015 National CA stakeholders conference attended by 230 participants representing 73 institutions.
Adoption of the CA coordination framework by all stakeholders in Namibia, and the institutionalisation of the National CA comprising of 25 stakeholders and chaired by MAWF.
Establishment of the Kavango East, Kavango West, Omaheke and Zambezi CA Regional Forums as platforms for the coordinated implementation of CA at regional level.
Conducted a CA learning and exposure visit to Zambia by 30 frontline officers representing 8 institutions, which stimulated public and private sector interest for collaboration with Namibian partners.
Initiation of a CA baseline study to compile and analyse existing date, draw lessons and a plan for accelerated implementation in all crop growing regions.
Commencement with the development of standards and guidelines for CA monitoring and evaluation based on international FAO guidelines.
Awareness and advocacy interventions initiated with the development and publication of the CA brief, and production of CA leaflets, stickers and posters outlining key messages on CA to be distributed nationwide.
Recruitment of accredited CA trainers initiated to develop appropriate training manuals for extension staff and farmers, whilst the training needs assessment among all frontline officers to inform the material development process is under finalization.
Procured a variety of CA specific equipment, including tractors, implements and tools valued at about N$ million suitable for small-scale farmer use.
Through the Rain-fed Crop Production Programme, land in various agro ecological zones was serviced (cultivation, fertilising, planting and weeding) by applying one of the three CA principles, while superior adaptive seeds (maize, mahangu and legumes) have been used.
Initiated the drafting of a National CA communication and Visibility plan to guide stakeholders in CA messaging and effective communication.
Secured on-farm and on-station CA demonstration plots for practical showcasing of CA practices and related GAPs to farmers, with renovations of training and other physical facilities nearing completion.