The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) has launched an urban agriculture grant worth N$2 million, which can support up to 56 beneficiaries based in Swakopmund, Windhoek and Maltahöhe.
The grant is issued in the form of an e-voucher card, and some of the activities to be supported include backyard gardening, hydroponics, aquaponics, horticulture, poultry farming, agroforestry, fodder production, and orchard farming.
Previously, the EIF rolled a similar e-voucher card project out in the Mariental region. In March 2022, the vouchers were issued as part of the project titled “Strengthening Namibia food systems to recover from emergencies and disease-related shocks through the Build Back Better (BBB) programme”.
In collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), the ministry of agriculture, water and land reform (MAWLR) launched the Urban Agriculture concept-Build Back Better (BBB) Program with financial support from the Japanese Government. To alleviate nutritional deficits affecting urban and peri-urban households, the Build Back Better program strives to boost the production of nutrient-dense, high-value produce like vegetables and fruits.
The Windhoek Municipality (Khomas Region), Swakopmund Municipality (Erongo Region), Rundu Town Council (Kavango East Region), and the Daweb Constituency (Maltahöhe) of the Hardap Region, are working together to successfully carry out this plan.
Access made simpler
“This urban agriculture e-voucher system is mean to make accessibility of services to urban farmers much easier as this is a digitised service and additionally improve livelihoods of small-scale farmers under urban and peri urban areas through income,” said Karl Mutani Aribeb, EIF chief operations officer, at the March launch.
The fund approved 71 grants for various environmental projects, created more than 950 jobs, largely in rural regions, and repaired 120 boreholes that gave 77 000 people access to drinkable water.
The e-voucher system enables the selected recipients to use the system to access goods and services from particular chosen businesses. Beneficiaries will purchase various commodities they may need for the effective completion of their various projects in the various towns.
A shot in the arm for urban agriculture
“The EIF is ecstatic about this project, not only from a grant management perspective because it talks about food security, but more so on urban agriculture, as most interventions are geared only towards rural food production,” said Aribeb of the latest rollout.
“This urban agriculture initiative is a result of multilateralism and partnership between the Namibian government, UNDP, and the government of Japan, and it is only through agriculture that Namibians can empower themselves, especially those in urban areas,” added Margaret Matengu, the acting director of agricultural production, extension and engineering services for the EIF.
Since its foundation, the EIF has distributed grants totaling more than N$583 million and helped to conserve more than 240 256 hectares.