Bank Windhoek, in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), and Namibian Organic Association (NOA), will host a two-day online agricultural event, on Wednesday and Thursday, 7 and 8 October 2020.
With reputable Australian Soil Ecologist, Dr Christine Jones, as the key speaker, the event will be a four-part series on Transforming to Smart-agriculture Practices, under the following themes: Regenerative Rangeland Management for Climate Change Adaptation; Organic Agriculture and Nutrition, Agriculture Economics, Business and Marketing and the Role of the Bank in Financing Climate Change Initiatives. The Bank Windhoek Agriculture Series will be live-streamed on the Bank Windhoek Facebook and YouTube pages.
Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services, Jacqueline Pack, said that as a connector of positive change and responsible corporate citizen, the bank believes in driving progress in the communities in which it operates. “The agriculture sector is a pivotal stakeholder to Bank Windhoek and our country; thus, we believe it is important to engage and have knowledge sharing sessions that contribute to progress in the agriculture sector,” she said.
The importance of agriculture in Namibia
Research has found that 70% of the Namibian population directly or indirectly depends on agricultural activities for their livelihood through employment and subsistence agriculture. The sector annually contributes 3.5% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “This shows the imperative role agriculture plays for the country, hence the need for increased investments, productivity, and engagement,” said Pack.
The agriculture sector is the biggest employer, constituting 24% of the labour force. However, being a semi-arid country, Namibia receives low rainfall with only 2% of the land receiving good rains, and others sometimes receive below-average precipitation. The below-average rainfall affects agricultural productivity and therefore threatens the 70% of the sector’s sustainability.
The NNF and NOA’s collaborative efforts entail undertaking joint sustainable agriculture interventions by seeking to align relevant projects and activities and make significant contributions to such development through education, training, and research and extension activities.
GIZ supports the Namibian government and relevant stakeholders in promoting the sustainable and climate-adapted development of the agricultural sector, ultimately leading to improved food security and rural welfare. Following a multi-pronged approach, GIZ works on policy, institutional, and target group levels to foster agricultural production systems diversification and encourage climate-sensitive production methods, namely conservation and promoting innovative agribusiness developments along the value chain.
In cooperation with Bank Windhoek and other financial institutions, GIZ seeks to investigate suitable financing models that will enable small-scale farmers and agricultural enterprises to enhance the sustainable utilisation of natural resources and improve their productivity and profitability.
“The Bank Windhoek Agriculture Series aligns with both NNF and GIZ’s objectives of investing, seeking sustainable solutions, which benefit Namibia’s agriculture sector,” concluded Pack.
Caption: Dr Christine Jones