San diversifying livelihood to address impact of climate change

Despite a drought ravaging most of Southern Africa, the San community, which constitutes about 2% of the Namibian population, is picking up vital information concerning modern farming and animal husbandry.
With this new knowledge, they utilise and integrate their conventional methods for surviving.
Recently, San farmers from the Nyae Nyae Conservancy visited Farm Springbokvley for an open day with the winner of the 2015 Young Farmer of the Year award winner, Judith Isele. The event also had an array of speakers who gave insight into ‘holistic farming’ and how to get the most profit out of each hectare of land that is worked.
The purpose of the visit was for the San Groups to learn more about different methods of farming and build up their expertise as the group is pursuing agriculture and livestock in the Nyae Nyae area.
One farmer in particular, Efraim Kxoara, who is employed by the Nyae Nyae Conservancy as their Agricultural Officer, and /gao /amacea, have both progressed in their village of G/aqo!oma’, despite sometimes struggling with the language. By attending information days, they found out that they can pick up tips which can be applied in their own areas.
“Being around other farmers, like-minded people is very stimulating and motivating,” Kxoara said. “It boosts our own farming activities which allows us to support our community and it improves food security which is essential, as drought and climatic changes have an impact on our traditional livelihoods,” he added.

According to Kxoara, combining these new sources of livelihood with traditional ones such as Devils Claw harvesting, craft making and tourism activities, it contributes to offers the San a viable future where wildlife and livestock co-exist and agriculture is done alongside bush foods.
Currently the San people who occupy the Nyae Nyae Conservancy are supported by the European Union in Namibia (and previously the Environmental Investment Fund – EIF) to diversify their livelihoods as a means to address the impacts of climate change.
Furthermore the San are working with the local Ministry of Agriculture staff to implement planned grazing, herding and conservation agriculture as sustainable practices to safeguard the environment while maximising the potential outcome from crops and livestock.
Judith Isele was delighted to be able to represent the farming community and said,‘It’s great to see so many farmers from different communities here at this event. We are all toiling the land in one way or another and we can definitely learn from each other.”

Climate change has a significant impact on the San communities and receiving input from a successful farmer like Judith is a great opportunity to start diversifying their livelihoods into agriculture and livestock management.

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