UNDP supports Namibia to launch its National Strategic Action Plan for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, supported by Gobabeb Training Centre, the International Treaty on PGRFA and FAO, through UNDP and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, officially launched the Namibian National Strategic Action Plan for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) at the African Drought Conference in Windhoek.
With the current drought that Africa is facing, the genetic diversity of grains, vegetables and fruits becomes even more crucial for food. Plant Genetic Resources provide the raw material used by farmers and plant breeders to improve the quality and productivity of our crops. They make them more resilient to the impact of climate change.
The world PGRFA report informs us that by 2050, the world will need to produce twice as much food as was produced in the year 2000, but with the same amount of land and using less water.
The Namibian strategic action plan is a blueprint that intends to safeguard and scale-up the development of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture-PGRFA in this country. It explicitly acknowledges the role of small-scale farmers as custodians of agricultural resources and knowledge. This knowledge is vital to confronting the challenges of the future.
The Strategic Action Plan also recognises the importance of adapting to climate change. In Namibia UNDP is working with Government to implement community based projects that seek to enhance the resilience of communities and their ecosystems to climate change.
UNDP for example, through the SCORE project is reducing the vulnerability of 4,000 households to floods and drought. 80 % of these households are female headed.
Some of the project activities include;
Providing ploughing services to 600 households in each region;
Supporting small-scale farmers to adopt the drip and bucket irrigation system for vegetable gardens;
Setting up systems to ensure the timely, appropriate and sufficient provision of seeds.
Speaking at the Launch the UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Kiki Gbeho said, “The need for scientists and small-scale farmers to jointly revive and conserve, indigenous seeds is critical. This work is vital in the face of drought and climate change and is essential if we are to preserve traditional agricultural varieties.”
She concluded by saying that we need to make smart decisions and leverage environmental finance. The strategic action plan provides a framework and is just the beginning.