18 June 2019

Namibia: N$130m Agricultural Project for Kunene

A N$130 million agricultural project to enhance agricultural productivity was launched at Warmquelle in the Kunene region on Friday.

The project, which aims at improving rangeland and ecosystem management practices of small-scale farmers under conditions of climate change, was launched by environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta.

He said the project will be implemented at Warmquelle, Fransfontein and Sesfontein to help small-scale farmers find adaptive measures, and strengthen their resilience to the effects of climate change, especially to drought.

"The ministry has committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Hence, we have developed several policies as a conduit to implement climate change adaptation projects," he added.

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia secured funding for the project from the Green Climate Fund.

Shifeta said the approach to the drought should not only focus on providing relief, but also on building resilience for farmers and community members, as climate change is here to stay.

"The ministry firmly commits to continue serving the nation to ensure that we safeguard rural livelihoods against natural catastrophes. However, all Namibians and developmental partners should come on board and assist the government in dealing with the natural calamity our country is currently facing," he stated.

Shifeta thus urged the community to work hard, and support stakeholders during the implementation of the project.

At the same occasion, deputy minister of agriculture, Anna Shiweda said her ministry will be responsible for the implementation of the project.

"The agriculture ministry chose the three areas by using criteria which included the equitable distribution of development, and vulnerability to climate change," she noted.

Kunene governor, Maurius Sheya announced the project on social media recently. However, there were a few individuals who argued that the N$130 million was too much for the three projects.

Deputy executive director in the finance ministry Ally Angula took to social media, stating that the price tag for only three green schemes was too high, adding that "the concept always costs ten times more than it should".

Sheya, however, countered the allegation, saying the projects were beyond the green schemes.

"The project components go beyond three green schemes to incorporate local level early warning systems, rangeland management and recovery, household food/fodder production, using climate smart techniques and climate resilient livestock breeds for farmers' associations in the region," Sheya explained.

The governor said he will give further details on the projects when he delivers his state of the region address scheduled for 27 June 2019. - Nampa, Own report

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