20 February 2018

Namibia: San Embrace Permaculture for Food Security

The San community living in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest has embarked on an initiative to pioneer new farming techniques in efforts to enhance food security.

The community, according to a media statement issued last week by the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation, has been expanding its agricultural activities to include a broader, permaculture-based approach.

'Permaculture' is the conjoining of the words permanent and agriculture and is about learning to work with nature instead of against it in order to develop a sustainable ecosystem.

It offers practical methods to increase food productivity, positively affect the environment and reduce energy consumption, while improving understanding of the natural functioning of ecosystems and the role of humans within them.

The new approach is essential as the community strives to become more self-sufficient, empowered and achieve self-reliance, and do away with the age-old methods of foraging for food through hunting and gathering activities.

"Food security is essential for everyone. Normally, we simply go to the shop and buy what we need. However, the San community living in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest are trying a new approach," the statement added.

As part of this agricultural expansion, posters have been produced to support the training being given to the San, to serve as reminders and encourage a broader, more encompassing approach to agricultural activities.

The posters are highly pictorial as literacy is limited in the area and materials are produced in Afrikaans and English at the request of the community.

According to the statement, the pictures will go a long way to teaching the community the basics of this type of farming and will also demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to agricultural activities for the people in the conservancies.

The initiative has been funded by the European Union under a climate change adaptation grant, as well as the Finnish Embassy.

The donors have provided tools and seed with the long-term goal of increasing permaculture activities, the productivity of gardens and fields and ultimately improving nutrition and food security.

"One of the limiting factors in the area, as in most parts of Namibia, is the water which has demands from humans, livestock and now increasingly large gardens," the statement noted.

- Nampa

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