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Namibian Organic Association
Fax: +264 81 129 5575
the NOA newsletter
Announcement: Organic Association and Namibian Nature Foundation launch programme to boost organic agriculture in Namibia
Programme activities will be delivered through the Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Southern Africa
[WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA, 01 February 2021]
The Namibian Organic Association (NOA) and the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) launched country activities for the Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Southern Africa (KH SA) that aims to promote the adoption and scaling-up of organic agriculture in the region.
Mareike Aufderheide-Voigts, Namibian Project Manager, who holds a degree in B.Sc Organic Agriculture and M.Sc. Sustainable International Agriculture from the University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany, notes that “introducing organic agriculture practises to Namibia’s agricultural system will help the country combat climate change, rejuvenate agricultural soils, reduce agricultural water usage and produce nutrient-dense food.”
KH SA is a collaborative country-led partnership funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is one of five Knowledge Hubs for Organic Agriculture, under the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture in Africa programme, pursuing the goal of disseminating knowledge and shaping a network on national, regional and continental levels. The other four Knowledge Hubs for Organic Agriculture are implemented by GIZ in North, West and Eastern and Central Africa. KH SA is operating in Zambia, Namibia and South Africa with plans to extend the project to Malawi in 2021. The South African-based Sustainability Institute provides support for the regional project. NOA and NNF lead project activities in Namibia.
KH SA aims to close the knowledge gaps that limits the sharing of organic agriculture production methods in Southern Africa. Namibian project activities aim to grow the number of organic growers and volume of organic food produced in the country. The project will further be supported by the development of an online platform to disseminate context-specific knowledge about organic farming in Africa.
“Organic agriculture in the Namibian context refers to an inclusive approach to certified and non-certified organic agriculture production systems such as conservation agriculture; regenerative, biodynamic, biological and ecological farming; permaculture, agro-ecology and agroforestry systems, as well as climate smart and climate resilient production systems,” states NOA Chairperson Eckhart Foertsch.
Organic food production is increasingly viewed by international organisations such as the United Nations as a strategic way to address challenges of rural poverty, malnutrition, biodiversity loss, particularly in a time of climate change. The United Nations Children's Fund notes that 25% of children under five years of age in Namibia are stunted and that malnutrition is widespread in the country. Organic agriculture can be a pathway to addressing not only hunger and malnutrition but also other challenges including poverty, water use, climate change, and unsustainable production and consumption.
“Organic agriculture is knowledge-intensive, and putting it into practice requires an in-depth understanding of soil fertility, natural cycles and interactions between soil, microorganisms, plants and livestock” says Aufderheide-Voigts. The KH SA project will help by gathering and sharing information with Namibian farmers to allow them to benefit from practices that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.
This collaborative partnership is important for long term sustainable socioeconomic development in Namibia, which depends to a great extent on the use of sustainable organic agricultural practices, both now and in the face of climate change. NNF and NOA are able to make significant contributions to such development through partnerships in education, training, research and extension activities.
"If you are passionate about nature then first and foremost you need to respect people. And in Namibia, for a large part of the population that means also respecting agriculture in rural areas and what we aim to do is strive for more productive landscapes that produce food and natural resources and at the same time maximise on the ecosystem services that benefit wider society. This collaboration between the NNF and NOA is a stride our organizations are profoundly proud of. The Namibian agricultural landscape continues to develop at an amazing rate and an initiative like this that equips farmers with the skills to practice more sustainable agriculture is of utmost importance. I am optimistic we will see more practices and methods used in farming with and not against nature,” Angus Middleton, Executive Director of the Namibia Nature Foundation.
The next step in the project is to engage stakeholders and ensure that their recommendations are considered in project implementation. Engagements will take place online and face-to-face, COVID-19 regulations permitting. Aufderheide-Voigts notes that “we look forward to active participation in order to really grasp the needs of the sector here in Namibia.”
Is your garden ready for summer? Join Saturday's training course and start growing your own organic vegetables!
You will learn about basic composting techniques, how to use earthworms to fertilise your soil, how to save water, what to plant when and how to control pests and diseases.
Venue: Farm Krumhuk, 25km south of Windhoek on the B1 (accessible with a sedan car)
Time: 7:30 for 8:00 am - 17.00 pm
Cost: N$750 per participant; N$650 for NOA Members. The course fee includes a light lunch, refreshments, and two coffee breaks with snacks
Presenters: Dirk Bockmühl, Mareike Aufderheide-Voigts, Eckhart Förtsch
NOA's Annual General Meeting
Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020
Join NOA’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 02 December 2020. NOA members will get feedback on the past year and are welcome to give input into future activities. New members can join before the start of the AGM to participate in voting and other official matters.
Time: 17h30 for 18:00 pm - 20:00
A donation bar is available.
NOA Course: Introduction to Organic Vegetable Growing
The Namibian Organic Association (NOA) invites you to attend an Introduction to Organic Vegetable Growing course on Saturday, 4 November 2017.
The Namibian Organic Association (NOA) invites you to attend a training course on basic composting techniques, earthworms and using effective micro-organisms to improve your soil and plant health.
The course will be held in Okahandja, starting at 7:30 for 8:00 am and finishing at 13.00 pm.
During the course you will be introduced to:
- How to prepare and manage compost
- Using effective micro-organisms to improve the soil and plant health
- Recycling garden and kitchen waste
- How to make an earthworm farm
- Growing your own seedlings and planning your vegetable garden
- Drought management practices including recycling water from your bathroom and kitchen.
Who should attend?
Anyone interested in growing their own food.
The course will be a combination of theory and practicals, so please come in old clothes and be prepared to get dirty. Remember your hat and water bottle, plus notebook, pen and pencil.
The course facilitator is Manjo Krige, Co-founder and Chairperson of the NOA. Manjo has been working in organic agriculture and growing organic herbs and vegetables for twelve years.
The course fee is N$450.00 per person, including coffee, tea and an organic lunch.
New NOA board elected
A BIG thank you to all NOA members and guests who attended the NOA AGM on 13 November. The following members serve on the new NOA Board: Manjo Smith (Chairperson), Judith Isele (Vice-chair), Ina Cramer, John Mafukidze, Stephen Barrow, Nathanael Shikongo and Moritz von Hase.
NOA performs farm assessments
The NOA PGS Team recently assessed Farm Springbockvley and Farm Olifantwater West (near Blumfelde), Farm Krumhuk (near Windhoek) and the vegetable garden of Wolwedans (NamibRand Nature Reserve) against the NOA standards.
Thank you to all farmers and gardeners for their transparency and hospitality and to all NOA members and interested farmers who joined the assessments as observers! We had a very lively and interesting exchange with all participants who enjoyed the assessments while learning a lot about organics.
What we assessed
At Farm Springbocklvey, NOA assessed Nguni cattle and Damara sheep.
At Farm Olifantwater West, NOA assessed Nguni, Afrikaner and Bonsmara cattle, Damara and Swakara sheep.
At Farm Krumhuk, NOA assessed beef and dairy cattle, vegetables, herbs and fruits
NOA assessed vegetables, fruit and herbs at Wolwedans.
The Namibian Organic Association assesses Namibian farms according to IFOAM’s Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). It is a locally focused organic assurance system for Namibian organic produce which provides a credible and cost effective mechanism through which producers can provide an organic guarantee to consumers.
It is based on a transparent, formal, and systemized decision making process, and NOA members are invited to participate in this process as observers.
Find out more about NOA assessments here...
NOA participates in FAO sustainability study
FLTR: Edith Kalka and Manjo Smith of NOA, and Allison Loconto of the FAO, meeting in Windhoek to discuss the study.
Ensuring sustainability from ‘farm to fork’ is a measure that enhances food security as it enables the provision of nutritious foods produced without degrading the environment. The issue of sustainability is paramount as the world grapples and tries to balance between producing enough food for everyone and at the same time guaranteeing that future generations enjoy a safe environment. This trend has seen an intense focus on the production and consumption of organic food.
There are incentives that motivate farmers to adopt more sustainable practices, one of them being markets, which could play an important role in the transition towards sustainable intensification. Policy pressures to propose ‘climate-smart’ agricultural solutions and the rise of consumer demand for “sustainable” products (including organic, fair trade, ‘green’ labels) have created market outlets for sustainable food, textiles and energy in developed countries.
In Namibia, markets for organic and other sustainably produced products are gaining attention internationally thanks to a study undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Namibian Organic Association (NOA).
“This study is one of 15 cases selected for publication in a volume that explores how markets can drive the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices”, said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO representative in Namibia. The book is a result of a survey that explores innovative approaches (public, private and civil society) designed to link sustainable crop production practices in local markets for sustainable products in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Linking sustainable production and consumption
Linking sustainable production and consumption through efficient and inclusive food value chains is one of the strategic priorities of FAO. This approach clearly converges with the objectives of the Namibian National Agricultural Policy (MAWF, 1995), which among other priorities, aims to promote the sustainable utilization of the nation’s land and other natural resources.
Through NOA’s participatory guarantee system (PGS) of certification for organic products, Namibia has been able to ensure that the market drives the adoption of sustainable agricultural products. The PGS brings consumers, producers and other intermediaries together on a regular basis to conduct ‘peer-reviews’ of organic farms. The system relies upon the expert knowledge of farmers to assess farming practices and the interest of consumers and intermediaries to participate and observe these assessments. The system also relies heavily upon direct marketing through members of the network, the weekly Windhoek Greenmarket and through Internet orders for the Organic Box.
FAO and NOA interactions with a number of organic producers, processors and traders showed that there is a demand for Namibian-made organic and sustainably produced food, but greater support is needed to set up the institutional supports that can make this food more easily accessible (in terms of sufficient supply, retail outlets and competitive prices) to all types of consumers across the country.
New organic mark for Namibia
NOA has launched a new mark to recognise Namibia’s organic farmers who are producing food according the organic production standards, but are not yet compliant with the processing standards. This means that the actual ingredients are organically certified, but the processing procedures and facilities are not yet compliant. Producers are encouraged to upgrade their facilities accordingly by 2016.
The new mark (above) will show which ingredients are produced organically in Namibia by marking them with an asterisk (*).
By purchasing products that contain locally produced organic ingredients, you are also supporting the growing local organic agriculture sector. Please buy lots.
NOA members attend Organic Urban Agri Workshop
Twelve NOA members recently attended a 4-day Organic Urban Agriculture Training Workshop in Cape Town. The training was offered by Abalimi Bezekhaya, an NGO working to empower the disadvantaged through urban agriculture projects in the informal settlements around Cape Town.
Above: NOA members receive training in urban agriculture.
Urban food security in Namibia is a challenge, and it is important to develop the skills and capacity of urban dwellers since more and more people are moving to cities. NOA is receiving increased requests for knowledge sharing and capacity building on the topic of organic agricultural production.
NOA is very grateful for the sponsorship by Tony Pupkewitz which made this capacity building exercise possible.
"In order to increase food security in the informal settlements, people can learn to produce some of their own food in the city," says Manjo Smith, NOA Chairperson. "Many people have access to a little bit of land, and with innovative water usage methods, it is possible to produce some vegetables."
“We realised that we need to put a competent team together that can ultimately offer local training and support to urban agricultural projects, small scale farming projects as well as large scale commercial organic farming projects. This is our first step in this direction, and we are very excited with all the knowledge and practical experienced that we have gained,” says Manjo Smith.
The training course was very extensive, and training topics included planning of an urban garden, production of seedlings, soil fertility management, crop rotation, companion planting, plant nutrition, building compost heaps, applying mulching, preparing liquid manures, pest and disease control.
Above: the NOA members received certificates after their training.
"Abalimi Bezekhaya offered us a perfect opportunity of theoretical training, practical training as well as site visits and engagement with the urban agricultural community projects on the Cape Flats," says John Mafukidze and Patricia Sola-Mafukidze, founders of the Hope Initiatives Namibia (HISA).
HISA is a community based project in Katutura which focuses on supporting the community that are generally food insecure to grow home gardens. They also work with local Primary School teachers and Kindergartens teachers.
As a member of NOA, HISA endeavours to educate the community it serves to care for vulnerable children and offer training that will benefit the community by showing a functional model of a Community Organic Horticultural project that brings food security to individual households, incomes for breadwinners who if they have any debilitating disease can still get participation of family members in urban and peri-urban informal settlements.
The Abalimi project is a good model that taught us how sustainability for community based organisation such as HISA, can help the people to improve their lives. It’s a Win – Win situation, and the project has the potential to reduce household poverty, create jobs for informal dwellers, improve the situation of household food insecurity, enrich peri -urban informal settlements with food supply and consumption of organically grown vegetables to sell and make a living. For a community based organisation such as HISA, this was our AHA! Moment at Abalimi centre and many other places we visited such as the Skye Organic Farm, Khayelitsha Garden Centre, Moya We Khaya Garden and Bambanani garden.
"The lessons learnt from the experiences of Abalimi on how to turn social gardens into Market Gardens that will ensure sustainability was an eye opener for our Organic Project in Namibia. We plan to adopt this practical model and contextualise it for the community, primary schools and kindergartens within the Namibian environment in the near future. HISA will strengthen its training programme with local primary schools and include the systemic teaching of Basic Organic Horticulture for the urban market as well as pioneer the production of seedlings for Organic market and own consumption," says John Mafukidze.
Martha Nataniel’s highlight on the course was to see the high production in the city vegetable gardens, and how the community sell the produce and earn an income. “The community members involved in the respective gardens are responsible for their own piece of land, which includes the soil preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting and selling. A percentage of each member’s profit is then put into the “pot” to cover the cost of irrigation. This helps them improve their own conditions”.
Urban agricultural is a global and growing pursuit that can contribute to job creation, economic development, food security, community building and the social inclusion of the urban poor and women. Furthermore, it helps with the greening of the city and the productive re-use of city wastes.
"In a country with very limited resources, it is important to explore the various opportunities of turning waste into resources, which can ultimately be used to produce food for ourselves – so the entire city can become a farm", concludes Manjo Smith.