Conservation deal inked

28 May 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and Namibian Organic Association (NOA) have entered a long-term agreement to promote the conservation of biological diversity and agroecosystems, as well as the wise use of natural resources in terms of the framework for sustainable development in Namibia.

The collaboration entails undertaking joint sustainable agriculture interventions by seeking to align relevant projects and activities, submitting joint proposals and undertaking joint projects.

It also includes initiating and supporting research activities which will contribute to sustainable agriculture within the context of the management of natural resources, the conservation of biodiversity, the improvement of the welfare of people, as well as the promotion of agroecological stability.

According to the NNF, this collaborative partnership is important for the long-term sustainable socio-economic development of Namibia, which depends to a great extent on sustainable agricultural practices, both now and in the face of climate change.



Significant contributions

The two organisations are in a position to make significant contributions to such development through education, training, research and extension activities, said the NNF.

It said sustainable ecological agriculture can benefit Namibian producers by lowering costs of production, providing more consistent yields and a premium price at market, as well as the creation of an agricultural system that is more resilient to external shocks. Organic production is increasingly viewed by international organisations, such as the United Nations, as a strategic way to address challenges of rural poverty, malnutrition and biodiversity loss.

“Namibia, if not the whole of Africa, faces first-world interference in its food sovereignty, not the least of which being the contamination of basic food staples such as maize with genetically modified organisms,” said Eckhart Förtsch, chairperson of the NOA board.

Healthy ecosystems threatened

He said synthetic inputs are sold as key to feeding future generations, but are threatening healthy ecosystems and healthy people, leading to an ever-growing dependence on outside chemical production aids.

According to the NNF, almost three million producers worldwide produce organic agriculture products. There was more than two million hectares of certified organic agricultural land in Africa in 2018, with at least 806 000 producers.

“If you are passionate about nature, then first and foremost you need to respect people, and in Namibia for a large part of the population that means also respecting agriculture in rural areas.



Working with nature

“What we aim to do is strive for more productive landscapes that produce food and natural resources and at the same time maximise the ecosystem services that benefit wider society. This partnership is aimed at having productive Namibian landscapes, where we see more natural farming with and not against nature,” said executive director of the NNF, Angus Middleton.

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