Adapting to Climate Change Through the Improvement of Traditional Crops and Livestock Farming in Namibia

Namibia is one of the most arid countries south of the Sahara. Around 70 % of the population lives in rural areas. Fishery, tourism and agriculture form the basis of the country's economy. However, the economy is held back by low demand for domestic products as well as high transport costs and competition with products from South Africa.  
  • General Information

  • Case Study Name
    Country Pilot Partnership: Adapting to Climate Change Through the Improvement of Traditional Crops and Livestock Farming in Namibia 
  • Organisation(s) Involved
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 
  • Timeframe
    October 2007 - December 2011 
  • Location/Region
    Omusati region, north-central Namibia 
  • Brief Desctiption Of Case
    Namibia is one of the most arid countries south of the Sahara. Around 70 % of the population lives in rural areas. Fishery, tourism and agriculture form the basis of the country's economy. However, the economy is held back by low demand for domestic products as well as high transport costs and competition with products from South Africa. Climatic variability is a common phenomenon in Namibia, exhibited by persistent droughts, and unpredictable and variable rainfall and temperatures. Land degradation - soil erosion, bush encroachment, deforestation - and desertification are increasingly a threat to agricultural productivity. Climate change reports predict an increase in temperature and a lower amount of rainfall. Changing patterns and intensity of rainfall are likely to increase the rate of soil erosion, affecting crop production and livestock. An increased incidence and severity of extreme weather events such as flooding will worsen soil erosion and destroy crops. Climate change will affect the agricultural yield directly through changes in temperature and precipitation, and indirectly through changes in soil quality, pests, and diseases. In response this project aims at enhancing the adaptive capacities of farmers, pastoralists and natural resource managers to climate change in agricultural and pastoral systems. The project is working to develop and pilot a range of effective coping mechanisms for the reduction of the farmers' and pastoralists' vulnerability to climate change and variability. The following coping mechanisms were chosen for the project intervention: Improved seeds, Aquaculture, Livestock, Rainwater harvesting, Conservation agriculture, Drip irrigation, Buffalo grass. As target group 500 farming households were chosen. 
  • Objectives

  • Primary Objective

    The objectives of the project are the following.

    • To build and sustain capacity at systemic, institutional and individual level
    • To ensure that sustainable land management activities are coordinated, cost effective, innovative, and appropriate
    • Crossing sectors and integrating environmental, social and economic objectives.  
  • Expected Results
    • Climate change adaptation measures of rural communities in agricultural production piloted and tested
    • 300 farmers trained to adopt improved rangeland management practice
    • Improved information flows on climate change including variability (such as drought) between providers and key users
    • 22 Agricultural Extension Officers and Technicians trained in up-scaling coping mechanisms in each constituency
    • 20 % improvement in the uptake and utility of weather forecasts
    • Climate change issues integrated into planning processes  
  • Impact/Outcomes

  • Results To Date
    Progress to date includes112 households that have been provided with improved goat rams. These goat rams are better adapted to the climate, and have higher reproductive capacity. There is use of improved seeds and conservation tillage practices to achieve optimum yield, combined with manure and fertilizers. On the improved seeds and fertilizers under rain-fed agriculture, interviews with the beneficiaries informed satisfactory yield production. There have been contributions to drip irrigation for production of vegetables such as onions, cabbage and tomatoes. Innovation is also demonstrated by the Epandulo Project where fertilizer is being added to the pump drip irrigation system, making farming more efficient and productive. Project results also include provision of plastic storage granaries for grains to replace traditional structures made of wood. Plastic granaries protect against the damage caused by pests, a particular problem with improved seed, and flood damage, as well as helping to combat deforestation by substituting demand for wood. Seven of these plastic granaries have been distributed to households and satisfaction has been expressed. 80 domesticated guinea fowls were distributed to 20 households and six community groups, including HIV/AIDS support groups, as a way of diversifying livelihoods. 30 plastic water tanks installed at public places as well as at 40 households for the harvesting of rainwater, which can store enough water for 3 months for a household. Households have been co- financing the installation of the tanks by contributing to the purchasing of the gutters, taps and the concrete stand for the tank. Improved crop variety has been incorporated into the planting routine of the Farmers with Okashana no: 2, Marcia and Kangara seeds. These seeds are drought tolerant and are grown in conjunction with the traditional seeds to mitigate the risk of yield losses when floods occur. 
  • Challenges And Lessons Learned
    The project lacked a continuous Project Management Unit over its duration, responsible for the coordination of the project's strategic plans and daily activities. For future adaptation projects it is also recommended that simpler mitigation measures such as solar energy or light and energy efficient stoves are introduced. Capacity building in these technologies would also be necessary to ensure sustainable use.  
  • Success Factors
    • Integration of the project objectives into the work programs of the Ministry of Agriculture
    • Collaboration with other community projects and regional offices
  • Scale-Up Potential
    Climate change adaptation considerations will be mainstreamed throughout development planning in Namibia. The community information toolkit that has been created can also be used in other regions to raise awareness. It includes a range of adaptive options such as rainwater harvesting methods. 
  • Additional Information

  • References
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2010. Country pilot partnership: Adapting to climate change through the improvement of traditional crops and livestock farming in Namibia. Global Environment Facility (GEF), 2012. Namibia country pilot partnership programme: Adapting to climate change through the improvement of traditional crops and livestock farming. Final Evaluation Report.  
  • Weblink(s)

    http://www.thegef.org/gef/sites/thegef.org/files/gef_prj_docs/GEFProjectDocuments/M&E/TE/FY2012/UNDP/G002915/2915_3598_Namibia_CCA_TE.pdf

    http://www.thegef.org/gef/sites/thegef.org/files/gef_prj_docs/GEFProjectDocuments/M&E/TE/FY2012/UNDP/G002915/2915_3598_Namibia_CCA_TE.pdf  

  • Contact Person And Contact Details

    Jessica Troni (UNDP Regional Technical Advisor)
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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