Conservation Agriculture Namibia (CAN) is a Namibian non-governmental organization (NGO) that was formed for the purpose of increasing agricultural production in Namibia. CAN Director Colin Nott is also an HMI Certified Educator and has been working in the field of conservation agriculture for years as part of his efforts to holistically improve rangeland and communal land health.
The key focus of the Rangeland and Marketing Development Support Project of CAN that has been funded by the European Union and the Meatco Foundation is to increase the awareness and active involvement of key stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels in climate change adaptation strategies related to rangeland, livestock, marketing and cropping.
More specifically, the goals of that program are:
- To improve the awareness and active involvement of key stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels in climate change adaptation strategies related to rangeland, livestock, marketing and cropping.
- To support locally established organizations to develop regionally appropriate responses to improve uptake of increased production of fodder, improved herd productivity as well as increased sales of livestock.
- To improve the whole chain of production of livestock farmers in selected sites in the Northern Communal Areas.
- To address key issues affecting the sustainability of the rangeland and livestock sectors.
So far CAN has been able to increase its efforts and is now operational in seven Northern Communal Areas in Namibia (Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Kavango East and West) with a focus on climate change adaptation strategies in the livestock and cropping sector. They work in 33 Grazing Areas (GAs) in these seven regions where they are piloting improved rangeland and improved crop production as well as starting to facilitate the development of local level land use plans.
Already almost 35,000 acres have been directly influenced to date from within these grazing areas and some of the specific activities and topics have included: teaching herder roles and responsibilities; explaining qualities, benefits, challenges, animal health of low-stress animal handling; adjusting livestock numbers to the available fodder; explaining livestock marketing /off-take; developing solutions to the issue of neighbouring villages invading/disturbing rangeland management practices in participating grazing areas; livestock kraaled at high density in rangeland at nights; and exploring rip furrowing on cropland and analyzing the benefit to the soil.
The major challenges that confront the program are: 1) drought, 2) grass poaching, with no recourse, 3) limited grazing areas due to fencing issues, and 4) no legal framework to apply grazing plan.
The third component of this program is focused on cropping and is titled Namibia Specific Conservation Agriculture. It focuses on getting farmers who own crop land and are members of the grazing areas where the livestock project is happening who are willing to be trained in and follow good cropping principles and practices.
Recently CAN has asked for help from HMI to support the training and capacity building of CAN staff and key implementing partners such as the NNFU and MAWF in Holistic, as well as farmers and key stakeholders in the Northern communal areas – including traditional authorities, and regional government structures—in Holistic Management. HMI’s collaboration will enable more targeted and specific training to be delivered to these various stakeholders as well as to enable better institutional planning and delivery of services and technical support.
The focus of this part of the program will be on improved decision-making, visioning and planning to achieve improved quality of life of residents through successful natural, human, and financial resource management. As Colin has noted: “The restoration of Namibian rangelands will help alleviate the poverty of vulnerable communities in Namibia.” With holistic decision-making, financial planning, and grazing planning as critical pieces of this program, HMI is helping to support capacity building for the success of this critical regenerative agricultural program for Namibia.
To support this program, you can select “Aid Africa” from HMI’s Choose Where You Give Page.