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CA programmes remains under pressure

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Conservation Agriculture (CA) has not reaped the expected benefits from an attempt to recognise the need to rapidly accelerate access to, affordability of, and incentives to use fertilisers together with agricultural practice.

The development comes despite government launching an N$96 million Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP) in March 2015 to run until 2019.

The German International Development Cooperation (GIZ), and the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) are partners in the programme.

This year, CA is again under pressure as the rains stay away and more than half of Namibia’s 2.3 million residents living in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) rely on their crops.

The project has been hampered by consecutive drought years, adaptive constraints and a cash-strapped government forking out millions for drought aid food.

CA was dealt another blow when the internationally funded Namibian Conservation Agricultural Project (NCAP) came to an end in 2016.

Namibia signed the agreement with the Africa Union / New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU/NEPAD) in Abuja, Nigeria in June 2006 and Namibia started this process some ten years ago but some of the government subsidies were either halted or privatised due to lack of funds.

The CCAP aims to increase awareness and knowledge of CA among stakeholders, including farmers, extension workers, researchers and policy – and decision-makers.

.Responding to questions from Farmers Forum regarding the achievements of the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP) since its inception last March, Senior Public Relations Officer in the MAWF, Margaret Kalo, says to complement existing national initiatives in achieving national food security, the MAWF formulated the CCAP via a stakeholder consultation process.

“Whilst the MAWF developed the CCAP recognising the development opportunity provided by climate-smart Conservation Agriculture (CA) and complementary Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) as a suitable approach in our farming systems.

“It is imperative to note that adoption constraints at all levels must be overcome to mainstream CA in a targeted manner involving all stakeholders who have a role in ensuring its success,” she notes.

However, it is commendable that MAWF and stake holders have to date secured substantial resources that enabled the collective and satisfactory implementation of CCAP interventions.