The CCAP was developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) to adapt agriculture to the consequences of climate change. Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a method by which crop farmers do not use a plough, but rather a ripper or direct seeding methods to minimise soil disturbances. CA, therefore, requires the careful maintenance of organic soil cover and the use of crop rotation. This method has been successfully promoted in neighbouring countries and has also been piloted in Namibia for about ten years. The government now plans to upscale the method countrywide and GIZ is supporting the MAWF with the introduction of CA to smallholder farmers in Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi.
Albert Engel, the GIZ Country Director, highlighted his organisation’s interest in improving Namibia’s capability to deal with climate change, and said he is confident that NUST will be a strong partner in this exercise.
NUST will implement on-farm research on CA over the next three cropping seasons. The CCAP lists research as one priority area because scientific evidence is still lacking in Namibia while CA has been proven to increase yields in neighbouring countries. Adaptive research is needed in particular to tailor the CA approach to the environmental and socio-economic conditions in northern Namibia. In order to assess the acceptability of the method under real conditions, and to consider indigenous knowledge, NUST will conduct trials in farmers’ fields.
NUST Vice-Chancellor, Dr Tjama Tjivikua, expressed his gratitude to GIZ and said NUST is ready and willing to continue empowering the society through research. “However, there are often financial constraints which result in many challenges,” he added. The Agreement runs until mid-2019 and covers three cropping seasons.