Improving rural livelihoods in Namibia with Farming for Resilience (F4R)
Title: Farming for Resilience (F4R) Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Country: Namibia Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) Overall term: 2020 to 2024
The food and agriculture sector of Namibia continues to play a vital role in the development of the country’s economy. Around 70 per cent of its population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, while one third of the workforce is employed by agricultural enterprises. However, recurrent droughts have highlighted the vulnerability of Namibia’s agri-food sector to the impacts of climate change. In communal areas in particular, agricultural production is still largely characterised by subsistence farming practices with low crop yields, a high dependency on rainfall, limited water access, significant post-harvest losses and poor rangeland management practices. The sector also lacks processing capacities, and marketing opportunities for smallholder farmers in rural areas are limited. The impacts of the recent drought in 2018/19 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 revealed the need to improve the resilience of small-holder farmers and agribusinesses towards external shocks, in order to ensure sustainable livelihoods in both rural and urban areas.
The agri-food sector of Namibia is becoming more resilient.
The Farming for Resilience (F4R) project supports the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) in strengthening the resilience of the agri-food sector in general, and the adaptation capacity to climate change among small-holder farmers in communal areas in particular. In order to effectively address the wide array of interdependent challenges and vulnerabilities emanating from climate change, the F4R project works on the policy, institutional and target group level and deploys a holistic approach comprising of four main intervention areas: (1) Seed production and multiplication, (2) climate-adapted production, (3) agri-business and marketing as well as (4) food and nutrition security. Through the diversification of agricultural production systems, climate-sensitive cultivation methods and sustainable water management, innovative agribusiness and marketing models as well as improved nutritional awareness, F4R seeks to enhance the adaptation capacity to the effects of climate change by fostering climate, economic and physical resilience of actors along the value-chain of the agri-food sector.
The F4R project is jointly implemented by the MAWLR and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Further collaboration partners include other relevant stakeholders in the agri-food sector such as the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank), regulatory bodies such as the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), institutions of higher and vocational education, farmer unions and regional farmer associations, other Ministries, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organisations operating in the sector. With a particular focus on women and youth, the primary target group comprises producer associations, agricultural cooperatives, individual small-holder farmers as well as agripreneurs and schools in communal areas.
F4R’s implementation approach is based on the experiences and lessons learned from various predecessor measures including the Agricultural Business and Capacity Development Project (ABCD), the Communal Land Development Project (CLDP) and the Adaptation of Agriculture to Climate Change in Northern Namibia Project (ACN). Since 2014, the combined efforts of these projects have resulted in the following impacts:
Provision of trainings on sustainable agriculture to more than 32,500 communal farmers
Capacitation of 265 lead farmers (52 per cent of whom are women) that shared their gained knowledge among neighbouring farmers, communities and villages
61 per cent of all attendees have employed good agricultural practices as a direct result of the training interventions
Applying convened conservation agriculture methods, smallholders were able to double their yields during rainy years; in times of drought, yields quadrupled in comparison to conventional farming
The average income of project beneficiaries has increased by 70 per cent