FAO in Namibia

Namibia Edges Closer to Strengthening its Agricultural Data

Stakeholders pictured during the SPARS Validation Workshop hosted in Swakopmund from 14-16 April 2024. ©NSA

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), and key stakeholders, recently held a successful validation workshop for the Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Rural Statistics (SPARS). Signifying a significant step towards strengthening Namibia's agricultural data collection, management, and reporting systems.

Namibia’s SPARS aligns perfectly with the government's priorities outlined in the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) and will pave the way for a more robust agricultural statistical system, essential for informed decision-making on critical issues like food security and rural development.

The SPARS validation workshop, held from April 14th to 16th, 2024 in Swakopmund, focused on ensuring the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of the plan in addressing agricultural and rural statistics needs. Additionally, the workshop aimed to align SPARS with broader development objectives and international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Collaborative approach for a comprehensive plan

The workshop brought together technical experts, senior leadership, and stakeholders from various institutions. This included representatives from the NSA, line ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, and the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development, academia, and international partners. Through collaborative discussions, the group refined and validated the SPARS document.

The focus of the workshop revolved around aligning the plan's strategic objectives, outputs, and activities with national development priorities. Stakeholder engagement, budgeting, resource mobilization, implementation planning, capacity building, and innovative data collection methods were also emphasized.

Speaking during the workshop, Ferdinard Mwapopi, Assistant FAO Representative – Programmes, said, "SPARS represents a significant step towards ensuring that Namibia's policies and interventions in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and food security are evidence-based and impactful. Through SPARS, we can envision a future where agricultural and rural policies in Namibia are guided by relevant, reliable, and up-to-date statistics."

Key outcomes of the workshop

The workshop resulted in several key achievements, including refining strategic objectives within the SPARS to ensure they are actionable, relevant, and aligned with national development priorities, reflecting a comprehensive approach to agricultural and rural statistics. Enhanced stakeholder engagement fostered a collaborative approach to gather diverse perspectives, promote cooperation, and ensure buy-in for the SPARS implementation process.

The workshop also ensured that Resource Mobilization Strategies are incorporated into the SPARS. This involved discussions and inclusion of budgeting considerations, resource allocation strategies, and funding mobilization efforts to effectively support SPARS activities and initiatives. Additionally, the workshop managed to validate and endorse the crucial SPARS document, which included stakeholder consensus-building and feedback incorporation.

The workshop concluded with the creation of a well-defined implementation roadmap developed with specific timelines, responsibilities, monitoring mechanisms, and key milestones to guide SPARS activities from launch to execution.

Looking ahead

The next steps involve the official endorsement of both the SPARS and Agricultural Census documents by the NSA's board and their official launch. Setting concrete targets and initiating implementation activities by the relevant stakeholders will ensure progress is monitored and that the SPARS objectives are effectively achieved during its implementation.