Namibia: SAN Know Value of Trees in Food Security

3 September 2019

EVEN IN the arid regions of Namibia, trees can survive, provide shade and improve food security for people.

The San in the Nyae Nyae conservancy have found that trees are more resilient to drought than other plants and once established, are very easy to maintain.

On top of that, there is increasing evidence that planting trees may help address climate change. Recently, the idea of planting one billion trees globally to offset climate change was proposed in a study published in the journal Science on 4 July, 2019. Many villages in the Nyae Nyae conservancy now have a range of trees providing shade, mulch material, fruit with some even having medicinal properties. The garden and tree planting project was initially focused on food security. Its aim was to increase nutrition, particularly among children, who were actively engaged in the gardens and planting of these trees.

"Teaching them valuable lessons about agriculture and conservation and seeing the fruits of their labour grow and flourish and the conservancy benefit. These trees are hardy and can withstand the desert climate, especially trees like paw paw and guava," said a statement from the conservancy.

As previously stated, the planting of trees locally, but globally as well, will contribute to cutting carbon in the atmosphere.

If one billion are planted, they could cut carbon (a part of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere by nearly 25%, according to scientists. Although it will take decades for new forests to mature and achieve this potential and decrease carbon globally, tree planting needs to start now.

Planting trees now will safeguard future generations and combat climate change, with the added benefit of providing much needed benefits from their fruits, mulch and medicinal properties.

The San are taking advantage of these multiple benefits.

The ministry of agriculture provided paw paw and guava plants while other local suppliers have provided various citrus, graps, custard apple and moringa saplings.

Active pest control and co-planting insect-repelling plants means that no costly pesticides are needed.

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