Farmers often find that coexisting with wild animals can become very costly, especially if those animals kill livestock and damage crops. According to Community Conservation Namibia, human lives are also occasionally lost during this conflict, which has generated animosity in the impacted communities. There is however good news with a plan in place to curb these losses.
Farmers in Namibia are also becoming more concerned about the impacts of climate change on their agricultural practices. According to information from the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), north-central Namibia is more vulnerable to climate change and fluctuation than the rest of the country as 57% of the country’s rural subsistence farming population can be found in this region.
In 2015, Namibia’s ministry of environment and tourism announced that 48 people had been killed by wild animals between 2013 and 2015, and an unspecified number of people had suffered injuries during the two-year period. In 2020, the same government ministry had to cull 84 wild animals, and these included 28 lions and 17 elephants, in a bid to curb human-wildlife conflict.
Livestock losses take their toll
“Incidents of livestock losses to the main conflict-causing carnivore species generally decreased in 2020 when compared with 2019 (although lion conflict remained constant). Although spotted hyaena usually cause the most livestock losses in the north-west, over 300 fewer incidents were reported to this species in 2020 compared with 2019. Instead, cheetah caused the most conflict in the north-west during this year, although cheetah incidents were also somewhat lower than 2019,” said Community Conservation Namibia on farmer-wildlife conflict.
Namibia’s Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) in March of 2022 proposed that farmers in the southern African country be covered by a national insurance plan. The motion was brought to the National Assembly by PDM member Geoffrey Mwilima. This insurance motion aimed to call attention to the losses Namibian farmers will continue to incur through the loss of livestock and crops to climate change and farmer-animal conflict.
Now, the World Bank has announced it will be working with the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) to provide technical support on the first-ever Agri-Index Insurance for the Southern African country. The World Bank will provide guidance to Namibian government stakeholders on the design and implementation of an index-based agriculture insurance program for small-scale farmers, particularly in rural and community areas.
Index will build resilience
“The objective of Agri-index Insurance is to benefit small-scale farmers in Namibia to mitigate potential losses of agriculture produce due to increased effects of climate change and promote financial inclusion as well as help government reduce the financial burden borne,” NAMFISA’s CEO Kenneth Matomola said.
The index will help vulnerable small-scale and communal farmers become more resilient to the effects of climate change on crops and livestock. It will also farmers greater financial access to the implements and services they will need to farm successfully.
NAMFISA has identified key stakeholders and continues to coordinate efforts in the development of a platform where private and public sector participants may discuss and share ideas on how to build and customize Agri-Index Insurance products and services.
*This is a developing story.