The Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP) is a framework for coordinated implementation of Conservation Agriculture by all stakeholders in Namibia
The first ever Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (CCAP 2015-2020) registered commendable progress towards improving food production and incomes for farmers in Namibia. The Framework aimed to increase the application of CA principles and practices among the crop-growing farmers of Namibia.
Godfried Meeja, from Otjozondjupa region says that adopting CA was the best decision he ever made as a farmer as he increased yields and now earns a decent income, while Paulina Aluuma added her voice to the awareness encouraging other farmers to adopt CA as it is an effective means to counter negative climate change effects such as low and variable pattern rainfall experienced in their Oshana region.
“CA has been promoted as an entry point to Climate Smart Agriculture and has the potential to contribute towards mitigation of some of the climate change and food systems challenges in Namibia,” Mildred Kambinda, Deputy Executive Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) noted in the meeting to evaluate the ended CA framework.
Formulating second generation of CA Framework
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through a 10 countries regional project “Strengthening Coordination, Scaling Up and Governance of Conservation Agriculture in Southern Africa (SUCASA)” is supporting development of the second generation of CCAP in Namibia.
The five-year Programme will inspire Namibia’s farmers towards adopting CA in order to ensure resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection.
The development of the first generation of the CA framework was also supported by FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR).
“As the global climate crisis intensifies, more and more countries are beginning to adopt climate-smart, sustainable agriculture to ensure food security to feed millions of vulnerable people. Namibia still remains a net importer of food items and is thus highly exposed to environmental and economic factors affecting it as well as those prevailing in food exporting countries, and this increases its vulnerability to the shocks,” Ferdinard Mwapopi, Assistant FAO Representative (Progammes) in Namibia said during a consultative meeting.
Transitioning to climate-smart agriculture practices
Consultations among key stakeholders are underway from development partners, academia and farmers to guide the design of the new intervention, and also ensure ownership and its successful implementation.
The new CA framework is being designed with the technical support from FAO and will seek to transition Namibian farmers from rain-fed traditional farming practice toward climate-smart agriculture.
Conservation Agriculture adoption and scaling up is highlighted in the 5th National Development Plan for Namibia 2017-2022 and the MAWLR Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The country has a target to have more farmers adopt at least one of the CA practices; minimum tillage, crop rotation and organic soil cover, by 2025 to ensure food and nutrition security.
The urgent need to scale up CA
Agriculture in Namibia is primarily rain-fed with the majority of the population engaged in subsistence farming.
“Despite agriculture being the main source of food for the smallholder farmers, most conventional farming practices have negative impacts on the ecosystems and contribute to environmental degradation, for example loss of soil quality,” Mwapopi noted.
With the country’s vulnerabilities such as prolonged dry spell and floods which at times take place simultaneously, Conservation Agriculture adoption would provide sustainable food production.
The FAO support is aimed at enhancing institutional and individual capacities of researchers, extension officers and farmers to enable the adoption of new agricultural good practices for improved crop production.
The capacities of the MAWLR are being developed to promote CA principles to help farmers increase production and productivity, thus reducing risks and building resilience to climate change.