Staff Reporter Windhoek-In the far northwestern side of Windhoek, on the border of the informal settlements of Goreangab, a visionary new project called Farm Okukuna was born last week. The project aims to improve food and nutrition security in the capital’s northern settlements. At the groundbreaking ceremony, City of Windhoek councillor, Ananias Niizimba, pointed out that “Farm Okukuna will be the centre for a number of programmes, including growing food, marketing it, supporting small enterprises and entrepreneurship and – most importantly – improving nutrition”. The City of Windhoek has provided the erf, is putting up a fence and will organise basic services such as security, electricity, semi-pure and fresh water. Niizimba stressed that “Farm Okukuna would not be possible without partners who bring in expertise and funding.” The Namibia Future Farming Trust (NFF) has already successfully established 11 aquaponic sites in Windhoek and is the proud winner of the Namibian 2017 Sustainable Development Awards. At Okukuna Farm, NFF will be setting up hydro-/aquaponics, with initial funding from the Finnish Embassy. Community members will be trained and encouraged to use traditional methods for preserving leafy greens (steaming and drying) to produce ekaka or ombindi. Suvi Valkonen of the Fund for Local Co-operation of the Embassy of Finland has called for more stakeholders to come on board. “Here we have land, work and know-how. Let’s make this project profitable and beneficial for the communities”. Permaculture will be a further focus at Farm Okukuna. The Eloolo Permaculture Initiative has proved that this method is very suitable for growing food in Windhoek’s testing climate. At Farm Okukuna they will develop, with volunteers, systems that work on a small- or medium-scale and can be easily adopted and enhanced by local communities on the farm, and in the informal settlements, such as tree-grass-animal systems and home-yard systems. The permaculture designers and trainers are funded through the Liselotte Stiftung, a foundation from Hamburg, Germany. Farm Okukuna also hopes to become the nucleus for further developing Windhoek’s food system to be more sustainable, inclusive, safe and diverse and to provide healthy and affordable food to all. The World Future Council and the City of Windhoek have been engaged in such programmes for a number of years. A recent study of the African Food Security Urban Network in co-operation with the University of Namibia found that food insecurity in Windhoek’s informal settlements has increased from 89 percent to 92 percent over the past nine years.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-27 10:31:07 8 months ago