17 Jun 2017 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUN (NAMPA) The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda has called on communities to play their rightful role in the protection of natural resources.
Speaking at the commemoration of World day to Combat Desertification here on Friday, she said Namibia is rated as the seventh most at-risk country worldwide in terms of agricultural production losses due to climate change.
The 2011 National Policy on Climate Change in Namibia showed that crop agricultural productivity under rain-fed conditions might be reduced up to 50 per cent due to climate change.
In addition, the same study indicated that increased temperatures, reduced overall rainfall, an increased frequency and severity of drought events will pose even more challenges for farmers and rural communities.
This will certainly limit our efforts towards achieving national food security and will deprive our population of a sustainable livelihood, said Shiweda.
Currently, there are 82 communal conservancies and 32 community forests, which cover almost 53 per cent of Namibias communal land and are home to approximately 190 000 residents.
Shiweda said the essence of these community-based structures is to diversify livelihood options for communities and to generate revenue streams from tourism and the sale of non-timber forest products to supplement more traditional income sources from livestock and crop farming.
This diversification is, therefore intended to reduce pressure on the natural resource base, she said.
The ministry is also spearheading a number of initiatives to prevent deforestation and to rehabilitate degraded areas through afforestation and the introduction of agro-forestry initiatives.
For example, the ministry is implementing the tree planting project in the north-central regions, she said.
She however said in light of climate change this is a daunting task that requires the full commitment of all stakeholders, such as government, the private sector and the general public.
Shiweda also highlighted a number of other projects Government is involved in, such as the Sustainable Management of Namibias forested lands (NAFOLA) Project, which is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme with funding from the Global Environment Facility.
Another project is the Northern Crop Growing Regions (CRAVE) Project, which is one of Namibias first projects funded through the Green Climate Fund and which is being implemented in partnership with the Environmental Investment Fund.