N$3.2m handover to Kunene farmers

The N$130-million project aims to assist vulnerable rural households with stoves, thousands of drought-resilient goats and a green scheme, among other help measures.

05 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

Goats, fodder and energy-efficient stoves to the value of N$3.2 million were handed over by the agriculture ministry at Khorixas to selected beneficiaries from the Kunene Region.

This was procured under the Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management (Irema) Kunene Project and is aimed at improving resilience of smallholder farmers against climate change.

The N$130 million project was launched last year with funds secured from the Green Climate Fund through the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, which administers the project under the ministries of environment and agriculture.

The interventions of this project will benefit a total of 44 400 beneficiaries.

Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein said that 600 goats were handed over, with the 20 beneficiaries each receiving 20 ewes and one ram.

Energy-efficient stoves worth N$1 million were handed over to poor rural households and fodder to the value of N$1.2 million was distributed to farmers.

“This fodder is an intervention to address the devastating impacts of drought that the Kunene Region continues to experience,” said Schlettwein.

Fodder production

He said the Irema project plans to develop the Khowarib Green Scheme plot of nine hectares in the Sesfontein area for intensive fodder production, using climate-smart technologies, at a cost of approximately N$15 million.

“The plan to develop this Green Scheme includes, but is not limited to the rehabilitation of the three boreholes, installation of climate-smart irrigation systems and renovation of the existing fodder storage facility and fence.”

According to Schlettwein, a contractor has been appointment and is expected to on site by mid-November.

He said the Irema Project has a target of procuring and distributing more than 1 000 stoves, valued at N$4 million, to vulnerable households.

“This intervention is expected to reduce the deforestation rate due to minimised utilisation of firewood by the beneficiaries.”

Goats are tough

Schlettwein said the Irema Kunene Project’s Small Stock Revolving Scheme will strive to make these farming households resilient to the effects of climate change by providing them with hardy goats for breeding purpose.

An agreement will be signed between the ministry and the beneficiary to ensure that goats are used for the intended purpose.

The ministry will train the beneficiaries in small stock management and monitor them to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.

The scheme aims to distribute 2 500 drought-resilient goats to more than 120 qualifying beneficiaries.

Schlettwein said climate adaptation measures are critical to ensure food security for rural communities.

“It is well-known fact that Namibia is one of the countries that are negatively affected by climate change. The vulnerable households that own either a few livestock or none are severely affected by such effects of drought, pests and disease outbreaks.”

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