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Namibian Organic Association
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the NOA newsletter
Scenes from the November 2016 organic courses
NOA recently conducted Introduction to Organic Vegetable Growing courses in November 2016. One was held in Windhoek, and two were held in Okahandja. All three were extremely well attended by private individuals and agricultural workers.
Above, participants learn how to begin a compost heap.
NOA Chairperson Manjo Smith explains the importance of earthworms, and how to care for them.
Lunch is served. The ingredients were organic.
Participants learned how to select and plant seedlings.
NOA membership for 2016
Join NOA for 2016 by downloading the form, completing it and faxing or mailing it back to us. By becoming a NOA member, you support the principles and practice of organic agriculture, and all its benefits in Namibia.
Download the NOA membership form here...
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.
NOA at workshop on biosafety regulations
Manjo Krige-Smith, Chairperson of the Namibia Organic Association (NOA) recently participated on behalf the Namibian organic sector in a workshop on draft bio-safety regulations. The workshop was held by the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) in Windhoek on 3 November 2014.
The workshop will refine Namibian regulations for safe transfer, handling and use of living GMOs. The regulations will cover conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and risks to human health, as required under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The regulations will be gazetted by the Ministry of Justice, as provided by the Biosafety Act , 2006 (Act No. 7 of 2006).