On Tuesday, 30 March 2021, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia joined the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), parliament of the Republic of Namibia, Embassy of Finland and Think Namibia Aquaponics at the HSF Aquaponics Project and first pilot aquaponics system at Aris Primary School, which is located approximately 20 km from Windhoek, Khomas region.
The pilot project initiative was launched in Windhoek with funding from the embassy of Finland. The aquaponics project aims to support improving local knowledge, training skills and human capacity development in the field of climate-resilient aquaponics with the overall objective of promoting food security and creating new livelihood opportunities in Namibia’s rural communities.
Speaking at the launch of the pilot project, Clemens von Doderer, the Hanns Seidel Foundation’s resident representative, highlighted that the aquaponics project is aimed at contributing to food security in Namibia using aquaponics systems in a pilot approach project. “The aquaponics present a climate smart agriculture alternative practice that has the potential to enhance agricultural production, boost food security and improve living standards in rural Namibia”, he noted.
Hannele Hupanen from the Finnish Embassy touched on the long history that the people of Finland have with conservation and forestry, hence finding alternative ways of agriculture that assists rural communities who grapple with high unemployment. In addition, she said the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 had imposed new hardships, and it’s hoped that the inauguration of this aquaponics project will pave the way to achieving food self-sufficiency and economic sustainability of the people of Aris, and more specifically the Aris Primary School.
Also speaking at the inauguration event was Aris Primary School principal Frank Williams, who shared that the school caters for 116 pupils, with 107 of those being in the hostel. Providing a decent meal for the latter on a daily basis was thus a challenge, and he hopes that the arrival of this aquaponics system will boost the food security of the school as well as expose the learners to practical skills from the theoretical skills gained in their science classes. He furthermore thanked all those who made this system possible.
Representing the Fund was the Head of Communications and Corporate Services, Lot Ndamanomhata, highlighting the mission of the EIF, which is to promote the sustainable economic development of Namibia through investments and the promotion of activities and projects that protect and maintain the natural and environmental resources of the country. With the recurring climate challenges facing Namibia, including more than seven years of devastating droughts, the Fund is still committed to supporting the government in addressing climate change issues by introducing and looking at long-term solutions, and this is one of many interventions, he added.
“We know that the school feeding programme is under dire stress, and initiatives of this kind meet government halfway. We congratulate the initiator of this, and urge custodians to ensure the sustainability of it in the long run”, Ndamanomhata said.