The Food security and habitat protection in KAZA project was launched earlier this year on the 29th of March 2022 in Katima Mulilo, Namibia. This supports communities in the KAZA area – Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the Bengo Engagement Global program. It is implemented by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Germany and in-country partners, The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), and The Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), who will be carrying out the planned activities.
This is where I come in. My name is Benitto Ndana. I recently joined the NNF as a project trainee under this particular project in the Zambezi region. I hold a diploma in Animal Health, and an honours degree in Wildlife Management and Ecotourism both from the University of Namibia and currently doing my master’s degree in Wildlife Management with a focus on Entomology. I have experience in animal health, biodiversity monitoring, and conservation research.
The Food security and habitat protection in KAZA project is one of many projects that are being implemented to promote sustainable utilization and sustainable living. Headed by Mr. Vasco Samwaka, the project is introducing sustainable agriculture to communities in the Zambezi Region of Namibia. This project aims to bring stakeholders together to promote agroecological approaches in crop and livestock production. The successful adoption of these approaches should increase food production in smaller areas without shifting cultivation and thus safeguarding wildlife habitat and diversifying income through the sale of surplus produce. Project activities include crop and vegetable cultivation, livestock production, civil society advocacy, and transboundary collaboration (including Zambia and Zimbabwe).
From the first week of September when I joined NNF, Mr. Vasco and his crew introduced me to what the project intends to accomplish in years to come. During the same week, we camped at Bamunu Conservancy where we introduced the principles and practicals of conservation agriculture. We met with ±160 community members from five villages of which a number of them agreed to try to implement these principles.
During the second week, on the 14 & 15 of September, together with the field instructor for Mashi, Mayuni, Kwandu, and Sobbe Mr. Alfred Tumelo, and the field instructor for Balyerwa, Wuparo, and Dzoti Mr. Davies Mwezi, I met with community member of the Mashi Conservancy to also introduce the same principles that were introduced in Bamunu. It was an incredible moment to witness how interested farmers were to incorporate new techniques into their farming system.
During the last week of September, we had a couple of workshops. The first was for lead farmers from the seven conservancies. Lead farmers are role models identified by their communities to train and support fellow farmers in specific technologies. The objective of lead farmers’ approach is to build the capacity of local innovative farmers to effectively share knowledge and skills with farmers within their localities. The workshop was held in Kwandu Conservancy and its’ purpose was to introduce principles of conservation agriculture and encourage farmers to be able to teach others in their respective communities.
The second workshop was on chili farming. ± 20 farmers attended this training which was aimed at introducing them to the principles of chili farming as well as conditions to maximize harvest. The farmers were provided with seeds and then later with seedlings once they had completed the land preparations. This was important to me because there massive potential in chili farming in the region. If done properly, the livelihoods of the community members and the conservancy will improve exponentially.
I am excited, and even more proud to be a part of this project because I get to be part of a team that mentors small-scale farmers in employing agroecological principles in their fields and backyard gardens. In order to maintain a sustainable crop production in the region, agroecological principles will focus on increasing soil fertility and thereby reducing the urge for shifting cultivation, but actually benefiting from remaining on the land where the efforts for improving soil fertility.
What a time to be alive, if you ask me!.
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For more information about the project, please contact our Senior Technical Advisor for Sustainable Agriculture, Mareike Voigts