TSUMKWE - The United Nations World Food Programme, in partnership with the African group of ambassadors and the embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil, recently launched an integrated community-based food systems project in the rural district of Tsumkwe in the Otjozondjupa region.
The settlement, predominantly occupied by the San community - indigenous hunter-gatherer groups - has seen them growing vegetables as a supplement to their traditional approach of surviving by hunting antelopes and gathering wild plants.
Since June 2021, 45 community members have grown tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, spinach and pumpkins. The project, purposefully adjacent to a clinic where pregnant and breastfeeding women receive access to healthcare and nutritional advice, helps local people to have access to nutritious food necessary for a balanced diet.
“The project helps bring about food security in the country, and will go a long way in realising the second sustainable development goal of attaining zero hunger, while providing a diverse food basket to address nutritional requirements for the clinic, school and the local community,” said Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO).
The initial raw materials and inputs to this project were purchased through a US$9 600 (N$146 000) contribution from the Africa group’s head of mission in partnership with Standard Bank Namibia. The embassy of Brazil contributed US$100 000 (N$1.4 million) for the expansion of the current project with horticulture and poultry production.
“To address poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, it is important to work towards socio-economic and environmental outcomes at both community and national level,” said George Fedha, WFP Namibia country director. As a result, WFP Namibia aims to enhance and develop sustainable food systems across all 14 regions of Namibia.
The food systems approach aims to enhance inclusiveness, ensuring economic and social inclusion for localised participants, including smallholder farmers and women, whilst minimising negative environmental impacts and strengthening resilience against future climatic shocks.
Tsumkwe is fondly known as the capital of the San people in Namibia. The San are known to be the oldest tribe in Africa, and possibly the world’s most ancient race. The project is aimed at empowering the community in an effort to change their marginalised status and improve their livelihoods.