NOA preaches organic farming

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NOA preaches organic farming

The Namibian Organic Association hosted a farm tour at Krumhuk Farm in the Khomas region on 23 March to illustrate and promote sustainable organic agriculture in Namibia and raise concern against genetically modified food production. 

NOA is a member-based association enabling sustainable organic agriculture in Namibia which was established in 2009 by a group of dynamic farmers and consumers with the objective to support a sustainable management system for agriculture in Namibia and more particularly organic farming.

NOA represents the industry in agriculture interests to policymakers, media, and other stakeholders.

The association said that NOA campaigns for the interest of organic consumers and support organic farm assessments and issuing guarantee certificates.

They believe that eating organically produced food reduces exposure to pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), reduces carbon footprint, is healthy for the soil, plants and biodiversity and such food is produced locally.

The only way to be sure that the product is truly organic is to look for the organic certificate or organic assessment mark.

The association wants everyone to be able to access healthy, safe, nutritious food that is also produced in a way that is good for our planet, and where farmers and farmworkers flourish.

It highlights that by making a choice to farm organically, the farmers are making the planet and their plates a safer place.

Moreover, the association remarked that hydrogenated fats and controversial additives and preservatives like aspartame, tartrazine, MSG and GMOs are banned under organic standards.

The NOA believes organic farming practices combat the negative effect of climate change by increasing the amount of food that can be produced with limited water resources, adding that this is directly linked to the level of food security in the country.

GM foods are not properly tested for human safety before they are released for sale. The association believes that GMOs present risks not only to human health but also to animal health, the environment, farmers and food security.  

The NOA shared that imported maize products from South Africa contain high levels of GMOs, so people should make it a habit to read labels carefully to make an informed decision about a particular purchase. 

The communications officer at Namibia Nature Foundation, Disney Andreas said there is a challenge in the general awareness of the benefits of having to practice agriculture in a sustainable manner. 

Andreas said NOA stands to address some of the challenges Namibia is facing in the agriculture sector through providing training to their members as well as everyone who is interested and creating awareness in organic farming.

Senior technical advisor of Namibia Nature Foundation, Mareike Voigts told New Era, “a lot of Namibian production is a very low input farming and again farmers do not have the resources to buy any other inputs, so if they were aware of using what is around them, it could become so much more productive.”

She added that there are still a lot of knowledge gaps in understanding how to farm without chemical inputs in Namibia.

The association is initiating a project which works with academia and research institutions to look at how curriculums are developed to incorporate organic agriculture to prepare Namibia for a better future in agriculture.