Funding: UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Pupkewitz Foundation
Partner: Namibia Resource Consultants (NRC)
This Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) and Namibia Resource Consultants (NRC) community conservation agriculture project, situated at Mahahe near Mashare, is in the process of converting to Namibia-specific Conservation Agriculture (NSCA) from its previous method of using planting basins. It is intended to become a “Centre of Excellence” to showcase the NSCA system which has been designed, tested and farmer-accepted in the North Central region over a 6-year period.
The NSCA methodology has been designed to assist farmers specifically in dealing with Namibia’s low and intermittent rainfall and degraded soils thus substantially increasing their crop yields, whilst at the same time, being best practice for the reversal of both soil degradation and deforestation. In addition to the fully participatory training provided for the community, who will actually be involved in the project’s crop production and benefit accordingly, the Centre will provide exposure to, and training in, NSCA to local farmers and agricultural extension technicians.
The NRC/CONTILL project in North Central and Kavango with its eventual 500 farmer partners raised their yields from 300 kg/ha (national average) to 1800 kg/ha (600%) and more using NSCA. It is important that this impetus is not lost and it is hoped that Mahahe will pave the way for other such Centres of Excellence to demonstrate, in a sustainable way, the all-round advantages of a conservation agriculture system that deals effectively with Namibia’s difficult conditions, both natural and man-made.
NSCA is based upon:
- ripper furrowing; where the sub-surface hard pan is broken to allow deep rooting whilst the furrowing enables infield water harvesting where rainfall is concentrated in the base of the furrow, increasing moisture by 75%,
- kraal manure, and fertiliser in the initial stages, are placed in the furrow where the crop is planted.
- constant traffic is practised where the same lines are used each season to create fertility build up.
- crop rotation using the local leguminous cowpea is also practised.
In addition, Alley Cropping with faedherbia Albida (Anaboom, Winter Thorn and also called the “Fertiliser Tree”), will be introduced in Namibia for the first time. At Mahahe rows of the tree will be planted 8 metres apart with the crops grown in between. It is expected that as the trees mature they will supply all of the crops' nutrient requirements.