FAO in Namibia

Development of Namibia’s National Sustainable Bioeconomy Strategy Takes Flight

Biodiversity and the natural environment are of critical importance in Namibia. ©FAO/N. Haimbodi

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Namibia and the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) recently held a kick-start meeting for the "Development of the National Bio-economy Strategy" project spearheaded by the two agencies.

The meeting, held virtually, sought to reaffirm the commitment by both agencies and relevant role players towards the development process of Namibia’s bio-economy strategy. During the meeting, FAO Namibia’s Representative (FAOR), Farayi Zimudzi, said FAO is honoured to form part of the initiative to draft such a critical document.

 “This partnership between the NCRST and the FAO is a reinforcement of FAO’s commitment to the Republic of Namibia in implementing the National priorities of the Namibian government as defined in Vision 2030 (V2030), Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), and the National Development Plan 5 (NDP 5) as well as other sectoral policies as they relate to economic empowerment and development,” said Zimudzi.

Building a sustainable Bioeconomy sector

The FAOR underlined Namibia’s rich biodiversity which she said has the potential to be utilized for sustainable production to create knowledge, science, technology, and innovation resulting in products, processes, and services able to provide meaningful employment and alleviate hunger.  

“Building a sustainable Bioeconomy sector will assist in addressing several social, environmental, and economic challenges that the country faces,” said Zimudzi.

In the same vein, the NCRST Acting-CEO, Albertina Ngurare, pointed out that the development of the national bio-economy strategy is not only well aligned with her agency’s strategic objectives but is also in sync with key national priorities and global development goals.

“The interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with respect to building a sustainable and secure Bio-economy must be the core of this strategy,” said Ngurare before adding, “It can therefore not be overemphasised that achievement of food security and the prevention of food losses and food waste and converting bio-waste into bio-products should be vital for Namibia.”

Ngurare thanked FAO for availing the necessary resources to ensure the development of the strategy, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic were she acknowledged that resources are strained.

Meanwhile, FAO’s Senior Project Consultant, Mwangala Nalisa, provided a comprehensive overview of the project and current activities in the country, including progress made with the ongoing stocktaking and analysis exercise.

According to Mwangala, progress achieved thus far includes the establishment of the Bioeconomy Multisectoral Working Group - consisting of 27 entities namely: nine Government Ministries, five private companies, 10 Non-Governmental organizations, high institutions of learning and parastatals. Mwangala added that the stocktaking and analysis survey, launched on 22 February 2021, is set for completion on 20 April 2021.

Sustainable and circular bioeconomy for food systems transformation

The "Development of the National Bio-economy Strategy" project emanates from the global project “Towards Sustainable Bioeconomy Guidelines,” which FAO is currently implementing, internationally.

The global project’s objectives are to support FAO member countries develop coherent bioeconomy programmes, including strategy development and implementation, towards a more sustainable bioeconomy, given the importance of their agricultural sectors and the use of biomass to produce energy, in addition to food, feed and fiber.

In Namibia, NCRST is collaborating with FAO on the development of the strategy. The overall work of the project entails stocktaking and analysis to establish the baseline of the bioeconomy landscape in Namibia, stakeholder engagement and workshop organization and finally drafting of the strategy.  The strategy is expected to be fully developed and implemented by the year 2026.