Fransfontein community garden looks to sustain growth post funding phase
The parliamentary standing committee on Natural Resources, led by Hon Tjekero Tweya, visited the Kunene region in August 2022 to familiarize themselves with projects funded through the Green Climate Fund, managed by the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia.
The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, support these projects in the Sesfontein, Fransfontein and Warmquelle districts in Kunene.
“Farmers in the Kunene region have endured a prolonged drought which resulted in heavy livestock losses and made crop production a mammoth challenge to face,” according to a statement by the EIF.
“In addressing climate-driven vulnerabilities, the IREMA Project has taken initiative to come up with innovative measures, such as retrofitting waterpoints with solar systems to ensure adequate supply of potable water, rehabilitating community gardens in Sesfontein and Fransfontein, distributing drought-tolerant seeds to smallholder farmers to boost backyard gardening, and distributing fuel-efficient (3-in-1) stoves to the local farmers to minimize pressure from limited forest resources in the region,” the statement continued.
The Fransfontein community garden that received funding of N$12,3 million, is one of the capital interventions that was re-visited by the standing committee on 7 December. During the first visit, the community garden was still at an infant stage. As a result, the standing committee members committed to a follow-up visit to witness the first bumper harvest. That visit took place last week.
A local farmer, Magrietha Haradoes, is a beneficiary of the IREMA Project’s Small Stock Revolving Scheme. The beneficiary received 20 ewes and 1 ram from the project in November 2020. At present, she farms 47 goats (double the figure) and has already revolved five ewes through the revolving scheme.
“I have achieved this through dedication, hard work, and commitment, as I herd the goats by myself,” said Haradoes. She challenges fellow beneficiaries to take good care of their goats, to ensure that this revolving intervention benefits many vulnerable farmers and households in the Kunene region.
Standing Committee Member Hon Maria Kamutali, expressed appreciation to the beneficiary, imploring her to continue working hard and setting a good example that other beneficiaries should emulate. The Standing Committee then proceeded to the Fransfontein Community Garden to witness the harvest.
Representing the Governor of Kunene Region, Hon Johannes Antsino applauded the Fransfontein community, saying “Agriculture is close to our hearts and there is no doubt that the Fransfontein Community Garden will enhance food security, and it has the potential to generate substantial income for the community,” said Antsino.
Further, he stressed that the “more we consume products from other countries, the more jobs we are creating for them.” Hence, such a community project is worth emulating in other areas of the Kunene region and Namibia at large, he concluded.
Representing the EIF was Ms Aina-Maria Iteta – the Executive Business Strategy, who applauded all the stakeholders for the continuous support provided to the community garden. She reminded policymakers to come up with policies and strategies that would assist local farmers to offset their products through local markets.
Committee Chairperson Tweya, was delighted to see the green garden under full production. He urged the garden management committee, beneficiaries, and all involved stakeholders to work hard to ensure that the garden remains productive to continue serving the Fransfontein settlement and surrounding areas. He further advised an exit strategy and good governance to ensure the sustainability of the community garden beyond the project.
From left to right: Hon. Johanna Kandjimi- Member of the National Assembly and Member of the Natural Resources Parliamentary Standing Committee (with dress) Hon. Johannes Antsino- Outjo Regional Constituency Councillor Aina-Maria Iteta- Executive: Business Strategy and Performance Management (EIF) Hon. Sebastian!Gobs- Khorixas Regional Constituency Councillor and Member of the National Council Mrs. line Shikongo- Support Staff of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, National Assembly.