FAO in Namibia

FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa calls for strengthened collaboration for resilient agrifood systems on first visit to Namibia

The FAO SRC/SFS, Dr. Patrice Talla, pictured with MAWLR's Executive Director, Ms. Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, during his working visit to Namibia. ©FAO/P. Tobias

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Sub-Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa (SRC/SFS), Dr. Patrice Talla, recently undertook a working visit to Namibia. This timely mission aimed to strengthen collaboration between FAO and Namibia in addressing pressing issues of food security and poverty reduction, particularly in the face of climate challenges.

Talla's visit underscored FAO's proactive approach toward supporting the Southern Africa region. Namibia, along with numerous other Southern African countries, is currently grappling with food security threats due to drought stemming from El Niño effects, exemplifying the need for international collaboration.

Dr. Talla's itinerary included strategic discussions with key government entities such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the Prime Minister's Office. The SRC/SFS also engaged with diplomatic entities like the Embassy of Japan and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Namibia, as well as civil society organizations such as the German Corporation for International Cooperation and the Namibia National Farmers Union. These dialogues emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders to tackle emergencies and ensure long-term sustainability.

Discussions at MAWLR, revolved around food security, capacity building for farmers, national agricultural initiatives, and the formulation of the new FAO Country Programming Framework for Namibia. Dr. Talla reiterated FAO’s commitment to supporting Namibia's agricultural development goals. Additionally, Dr. Talla also held talks with UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Resident Coordinator's Office where discussions were focused on mobilizing joint resources to strengthen agrifood systems and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Namibia.

Meanwhile during the SRC/SFS engagement with the World Food Programme (WFP), the agenda included exploring avenues to enhance partnerships between the three Rome-based agencies: FAO, IFAD, and WFP, to combat hunger and malnutrition, to complement the Namibian government's initiatives.

Building Resilience in the Face of Climate Change

Namibia's vulnerability to climate change necessitates a coordinated response as such, the SRC/SFS’ visit reaffirms FAO's commitment to enhancing agricultural productivity and resilience in Southern Africa in the face of climate change events such as El Niño. Through this initiative, FAO aims to empower Namibia’s government and stakeholders to implement effective strategies for achieving food security and reducing poverty.

Dr. Talla highlighted the importance of strengthening partnerships between all stakeholders to "foster resilience and promote sustainable agricultural practices among Namibian communities." According to him, such collaboration, exemplified by FAO and Namibia’s government, sets a precedent for regional cooperation in addressing global challenges like climate change and its impact on food security.

The SRC/SFS had the opportunity to travel to the Oshana and Ohangwena regions, where he engaged with the Governors of both regions, Hon. Elia Irimari and Lt. General (rtd) Sebastian Ndeitunga. In the Ohangwena region, Dr. Talla attended the joint handover of gardening tools and small-scale irrigation systems by FAO and MAWLR to beneficiary farmers.

This initiative, funded by the Government of Japan, aims to build resilience, and empower farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices, helping them overcome challenges posed by climate change. During his remarks at the handover event, Dr. Talla reiterated FAO's unwavering commitment to supporting Namibia's efforts to transform the country’s agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.

The SRC/SFS’ visit provides a hopeful outlook for FAO's support in mitigating the impacts of climate change on food security in Namibia and the Southern African region.