Detailed review of conservation agriculture and climate change in northern Namibia

01 July 2015

More than half of the 2.1 million people of Namibia live in the northern regions of the country. Furthermore, more than two thirds of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood. Because Namibia's climate is already variable, and droughts are common, climate change is set to increase the already vulnerable community, of which most are women-led households. The soils in Namibia are fragile, and have been degraded by outdated agricultural practices, exacerbating the situation and further increasing this vulnerability. The GIZ project 'Adaptation of Agriculture to Climate Change in Northern Namibia' aims to increase resilience through the adoption of 'climate-smart' conservation agriculture, with the focus being on agroecology and small-scale farming. This type of agriculture has shown that livelihoods and crop production have improved multi-fold while preserving the soil structure and retaining soil moisture. The project will run for five years and is housed at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The project aims to support MAWF through its Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme for Namibia, which is running from 2015 to 2019.

As a point of departure for the project, it was necessary to understand the conservation agriculture context in northern Namibia. Conservation agriculture has been piloted since the early 2000s, but only received momentum in 2009 with the CONTILL project. Since then, there have and continue to be many interventions all over northern Namibia. These interventions have taken place with little overall coordination, and there has been no overall review of all these initiatives. To this effect, GIZ commissioned Dr Braby, through the Namibia Nature Foundation, to develop a review giving a brief background to conservation in Namibia, and provide a brief overview of all major initiatives, past and present, that have taken place in northern Namibia. The review also provided a list of key actors in the conservation agriculture arena. This point of departure was set to give a good grounding on all projects and provide the opportunity for a collaborative and supportive environment, as well as coordination possibilities. The review was conducted centrally, through desktop studies and face-to-face and telephonic discussions with key stakeholders. Based on these, the review also made recommendations on the possible GIZ value-added proposition of its project to the wider platform of CA in northern Namibia, and propose a workshop outline as an entry-point into collaboration and coordination of future activities.

Clients: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (as associate to the Namibia Nature Foundation) 05/15-07/15