San farming bears fruit

Through a home gardening project 10 years in the making, San communities are able to become self-sufficient and learn about small-scale farming.

05 May 2020 | Agriculture



The San communities in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy are investing in home gardening projects to become more self-sufficient and to ensure greater food security.

A statement by the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation Namibia (NNDFN) said the San communities in the conservancy have become increasingly reliant on farming, while climate change has a huge impact on their traditional way of life and food security.

According to the statement, recent good rains ensured that the efforts the conservancy and its communities invested in home gardens paid off.

The home gardening project is supported by the NNDFN and its donors.

10 years in the making

The statement said the conservancy, along with NNDFN and its donors, have worked on this project to develop gardens for nearly 10 years, and the fruits of these efforts can now be seen.

“Watermelons have grown in the home gardens and are ready for harvesting.

“Whether for own consumption by the people in the conservancy or to sell, the watermelons and other fruits are essential to the continued survival of the San.”


The statement pointed out that not only do the gardens provide much-needed food, but the project allows the San to be more self-sufficient and teaches them about small-scale farming.

Through different initiatives, including funds from the European Union and Environmental Investment Fund, but also with the assistance of organisations like the NNDFN, the San people have learnt about different farming methods and built up their expertise.

“Although it takes time, effort and patience to start the gardening project, it allows for a level of self-sustainability that was not there before, giving the conservancy inhabitants a greater sense of empowerment and food security.”

Viable future

The statement noted that this is essential, as drought and climate changes impact their traditional livelihoods.

It added that combining these new livelihood projects with their traditional veld food harvesting offers the San a viable future where wildlife and livestock co-exist, while agriculture supplements bush foods.

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