FAO’s workshops equip agricultural extension officers with skills needed during emergency situations
Forty-two agriculture extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) Directorate of Agricultural Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) are set to better manage and protect the livestock assets and livelihoods of agro-pastoralists affected by humanitarian crises, following successful training workshops facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization Namibia.
The FAO Namibia with facilitation support from the FAO’s Emergency Management Centre for Animal Health (EMC-AH), recently held two national training workshops on Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) from 12-18 September in Otjiwarongo.
FAO’s communications officer, Nelao Haimbondi in a statement said the agricultural extension officers were trained on the principles, knowledge and skills of emergency preparedness, response and recovery to humanitarian crises and animal health emergencies.
MAWF Deputy Director DAPES, Ben Haraseb said the ministry has a response plan being implemented, however the training that was conducted will allow the extension staff to identify gaps and make recommendations.
“At the same time they will be able to best advice farmers on the ground how to survive the current drought we are facing,” he added.
He noted that, “all the regions are not affected in the same way and each extension officer will have to adopt a method of assisting the farmers, with whom they interact every day.”
During the training participants worked on case studies, shared experiences in the field and were provided with the LEGS Handbook, and the FAO Manual on Livestock-related interventions during emergencies.
According to the FAO, the evolving climatic patterns characterized by cyclic droughts, floods and cyclones have become more frequent in Southern Africa. Their scale and complexities demand that all partners on the ground work together to help communities become more resilient to these threats.
In May 2019 the government declared a State of Emergency on account of the drought, with all 14 regions affected.
In light of the impact of the drought on the food security situation, FAO Namibia has been working with the government and other development partners to build the resilience of the most vulnerable communities, while reducing dependence on food assistance, added Haimbondi.
The EMC-AH is a joint platform between FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division and Emergency and Resilience Division, which aims to reduce the impact of animal health emergencies.
The Centre works to enhance country, regional and international capacity to be better prepared to respond to animal health emergencies as it provides the platform, tools, support and coordination to help increase preparedness and response capacity at all levels.
Furthermore, the EMC-AH team also works to identify needs to address for improved prevention, detection and recovery measures.
Caption: The first group of agriculture Extension Officers to be trained in Livestock Emergency Guidelines & Standards by FAO Namibia in Otjiwarongo.