Sesfontein Community Garden site work begins
The “Improving rangeland and ecosystem management practices of smallholder farmers under conditions of climate change in Sesfontein, Fransfontein, and Warmquelle areas of the Republic of Namibia (IREMA) Project” is a project being implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) as the Executing Entity and the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) as the Accredited Entity to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The IREMA Project is a GCF grant funded project through the Simplified Approval Process (SAP).
The project aims to address the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in Kunene region from prolonged droughts periods through promotion of a range of climate-resilient technologies for enhanced agricultural and livestock production and improve the dissemination of climate risk information among the community. Climate change forecasts predict an increased length of the dry season in Kunene region, with the most vulnerable population being small-scale and subsistence farmers, mostly women. They entirely depend on rain-fed agriculture of staple grains for income and household food security.
The IREMA Project staff, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia and stakeholders recently undertook a visit to track progress on the community garden project in Sesfontein, Kunene Region.
The Sesfontein community garden project will, upon completion, benefit the community by ensuring that they have access to fresh produce. Currently, the community is using flood irrigation and the project will introduce drip irrigation, an agri-smart technology system. The garden project also aims at saving water by migrating from the currently used traditional flood irrigation method. Hence, this will be a sustainable water source for the community garden to produce food for the community and will go a long way in ensuring food security, as well as enhancing resilience of communities to climate change.
Stephen Gaeseb Consolidated Trading CC has been appointed as the site contractor to help the community implement this donor funded project. This is a locally appointed contractor from Outjo, Kunene Region.
This garden will see approximately 100 plot owners (households) benefit and the total number of direct beneficiaries transmitting into more than 400 people.
The community is currently facing challenges such as vandalized fencing which lead to the livestock going into the garden, as a result eating and destroying the produce. Hence, the contractor will also be refurbishing the fence in order to protect the garden and its produce. In terms of the water supply, the community are not getting sufficient water due to poor storage facility. There are no dams or tanks to store water for later usage and hence evaporation is a serious concern, while the water pipelines are blocked and need to be renovated to enable an easy flow of water to the garden and community in general. The contractor will set up reservoirs for water restoration. With regards to training, the community lacks adequate skills and the knowledge in horticulture production and general garden governance. Thus, the project contractor will provide training to the community in horticulture production which will contribute to the sustainability aspect of the project. The Sesfontein community garden project is costed to the tune of N$ 14 million (Fourteen Million Namibian Dollars).
The contractor was delighted for the visit and commend the support they are receiving from the EIF and are hopeful that the project will be completed in time. As part of their social responsibility, the contractor plans on setting up a community camping site, a possible future source of revenue for the community.
The community members are excited and eagerly waiting for the completion of the project and training on garden management practices.
Figure 1. Sesfontein community garden project site