On the 18th February 2015, the Namibia Node hosted a Node Hosting Arrangements & Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Study Validation Workshop at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek. The event was convened by the University of Namibia. The main objective of the workshop was to review the FANRPAN country node hosting arrangements and the opportunities for strengthening the FANRPAN country platform. In addition, the workshop aimed at validating the Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Scoping study that was conducted in Namibia in 2013-2014.
The workshop was attended by over 30 stakeholders from government, universities, research institutes, the business sector, farmer groups and civil society organizations. It was opened by the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Mr Iita, who confirmed the Regional Secretariat's engagement with stakeholders in Namibia. The PS highlighted that following the consultations and the due diligence exercise carried out by FANRPAN, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, endorses the University of Namibia: Faculty of Agriculture and Research as the Node Hosting Institution for FANRPAN. The participants further supported the notion and appointed UNAM as the node host. UNAM Pro-VC for Academic Affairs and Research, Prof. Osmund Mwandemele, facilitated the workshop.
The FANRPAN Regional Secretariat was represented by Dr S Mundia (former PS Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia and FANRPAN Board Advisor); Mr. LW Mwamakamba (FANRPAN Protocol and Communications Manager) and Mr T Mthunzi (FANRPAN Natural Resources Programme Assistant)
Dr Mundia who was in attendance to oversee the process. He challenged the stakeholders to ensure that the node is functional and fully equipped to play the role of advocating for agricultural policies.
The Pro-VC for Academic Affairs and Research, Prof. Osmund Mwandemele, concluded the session by expressing his commitment to make sure that the node host will be all inclusive and engaging.
Participants further shared their experiences and contributed significantly to the shaping of the CSA Policy Scoping Study report. Participants expressed views and proposed recommendations for the way forward. Some of the CSA recommendations from the workshop are as below:
- The Namibia Agricultural Policy of 1995 which is now at an advanced stage of being reviewed should capture the CSA as a new approach in specific terms.
- Newer technologies as indicated from the FAO CSA source book should be captured in policy framework to be in sync or to achieve Agenda 2063 of AU, Namibia's National Development Programs, Namibia's Vision 2030 and the new SDGs succeeding the MDGs after 2015.
- Gender equality should be very specific in policy but should be cognizant of the various cultural roles and capabilities of both man and woman. Gender equality is only in availing equal opportunities but there are undeniable cultural, psychological and biological peculiarities that CSA policies should embrace.
- CSA policy should address bush encroachment which is an endemic problem in Namibia's rangelands.
- CSA policies should promote integrated approaches to solving food security, climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation issues.
- CSA practices should address water management issues using earth dams and artificial dams.
- There is a lot of underground water in Namibia sufficient for the country's needs (household use and agriculture) but CSA should address the problem of salinity. The underground water is saline.
- CSA policies should promote and guarantee all year round production of food in Namibia despite it being semi-arid.