FAO, China and Namibia sign cooperation agreement
16 June 2014, Windhoek - A new agreement to boost agricultural production as well as tackle food and nutrition insecurity in Namibia, has been launched today. The USD$ 1.5 million agreement signed by the Governments of Namibia and China in together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will run for two years.
The agreement was developed within the context of the FAO-China “South-South Cooperation” Strategic Partnership. South-South Cooperation projects help developing countries benefit from innovations, lessons learned and good practices, tried and tested elsewhere in the southern hemisphere – with conditions and challenges similar to their own.
“The benefits brought about by the mutual sharing and exchange of development solutions including knowledge, experiences, policies, good practice, technology and resources – are enormous especially if properly adopted and adapted to the local environment”, said FAO Representative in Namibia - Babagana Ahmadu.
Intensify production, enhance livelihoods.
The project aims to improve rice development; increase yields of horticultural crops as well as improve understanding and mutual exchange of veterinary policies, regulations and standards.
The key activities will involve capacity development, technology transfer, and technical consultations. Technical and managerial staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will also undertake specialized training in China, and are expected to impart the knowledge and skills learned to benefit the wider farming community in Namibia.
The project will also provide Chinese experts in veterinary laboratory, rice cultivation, vegetable varieties, citrus production, crop protection as well as soil and fertilizer management. They will execute their specialized duties while strategically assigned to various irrigations sites, research stations and veterinary laboratory around the country.
This project will focus on the extension service providers that work with small-scale farmers and agribusiness enterprises in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products.
“Small-scale farmers and agribusiness enterprises will also benefit directly through hands-on training and on-farm demonstrations. What we want is to see small scale producers intensify production in crops, horticulture and livestock as well as to witness agribusinesses thriving through value addition, thereby enhancing rural livelihoods”, concluded Ahmadu.
Crop production unpredictable, Livestock potential underutilized
Namibia is characterized by low rainfall, high loss of water from land to the atmosphere and poor soil quality. As a result, crop production is both low and unpredictable. However the potential to increase food production exists through diversifying crop production to include horticulture production. There are also some seasonal underutilized natural resources such as the seasonal wetlands to significantly expand rice production.
Cattle, goats, sheep and pigs contribute to 76 percent of the overall agricultural output value. Namibia is zoned for animal disease purposes by the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF), which means that approximately 60 percent of the livestock in Namibia (animals north of the VCF) are excluded from lucrative world markets, markedly reducing their values and negating their contributions to growth and poverty reduction.
Edward Ogolla, Communication Officer, FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa, Harare, Zimbabwe, Email: Edward.Ogolla@fao.org