Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

WORKSHOP URBAN MICRO-FARMING AND HIV-AIDS Johannesburg/Cape Town, South Africa 15-26 August 2005


By Adedayo Ogunmokun UNIVERSITY OF NAMIBIA NORTHERN CAMPUS Oshakati, Namibia.

July 2005

INTRODUCTION TO UNAM AND THE STUDIES AND PILOT PROJECTS The University of Namibia (UNAM) was established in 1992 and is responsible for conventional face-to-face undergraduate and postgraduate education as well as distance education at the undergraduate level throughout the country. The institutions strategic objectives emphasise its commitment to expanding access to higher education and lifelong learning opportunities. The University of Namibia fulfils its mandate through 7 Faculties including The Faculty of Agriculture and Natural resources, 4 Campuses including the Northern Campus and four Centres including the Multidisciplinary Research and Consultancy Centre. UNAM has recently conducted a number of case studies and pilot projects: Study: Assessment of production possibilities and constraints in peri-urban vegetable production FAO funded a survey on peri-urban agriculture in Windhoek and Oshakati (two of the principal towns in Namibia). The overall objective of the study was to assess the potential contribution of peri-urban vegetable production to income generation and improvement of nutrition status of poor households in 2 selected cities and municipalities in Namibia. The research showed that urban and peri-urban agriculture is practised by over 70% of the residents ((Dima et al., 2000 and Ogunmokun et al., 2002). Over twenty-three types of vegetables and fruit trees are grown on tiny plots, but the main ones are maize, beans, tomatoes, pumpkin, watermelon, sweet potatoes and pepper. The household members consume most of the produce and this contributes to the improvement of their nutrition. Many producers are willing to expand their plots if they are assisted with some inputs, whilst those with no gardens have expressed interest to start vegetable gardens, if they are provided with space and initial capital. Existing marketing outlets are limited to the locality. Most vegetable production takes place during the summer rains supplemented by water from the municipal water taps, which have now become very expensive. Animal production is limited to small stock and poultry, while fishing is only a seasonal activity. The absence of policy on urban and peri-urban agriculture is seen as a serious constraint towards its intensification and development. Pilot project: Small scale agriculture with digested solid waste and waste water The main objective of this pilot project, sponsored by the European Union, was to expand vegetable farming in urban and peri-urban areas through interdisciplinary research on the use of digested solid waste and waste water in peri-urban vegetable production to improve the standard of living in Goreangab location (an informal settlement of Windhoek). A mason and some artisans were trained in the construction and maintenance of the Integrated Biogas Systems while the community members received training in the management of the system and in vegetable production. Due to delays suffered from non-cooperation of Windhoek Municipality in the initial stages of the project, there was no adequate time to generate enough data to reach concrete conclusions on the efficiency of the use of Integrated Biogas System for peri-urban vegetable production. Moreover, the cost of building the biogas system was higher than previously anticipated and beyond the means of the targeted community members. This affected the proposed transfer of the technology to other communities. Despite these problems, the introduction of the integrated biogas system yielded positive results (Ogunmokun A. A, Mwandemele O. D. and Mubiana. F., 2002) including:

Provision of irrigation water and digested organic manure for the production of vegetable and fruit tree, leading to improved household nutritional status and the provision of income through the sale of excess vegetable products. Provision of biogas that is used for cooking thereby reducing deforestation of the locality and the pollution of the nearby Goreangab Dam. Enhancing understanding and appreciation among the officials of Windhoek Municipality of the concept of urban vegetable production and its benefits of poverty alleviation within the informal settlements Creation of awareness and interest in Integrated Biogas System among the community members and relevant Ministries

Study: Impact of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production, household food security and nutritional status This study is part of an FAO Integrated Support to Sustainable Development and Food Security Programme (IP) regional initiative involving Namibia, Uganda and Zambia and was sponsored by the Norwegian Government through FAO. The aim of the initiative was to gather disaggregated quantitative and qualitative information on the impacts that HIV/AIDS has on agricultural production and food security within the broader context of other constraints. The main findings of this study can be summarized as follows (Ogunmokun, 2003): Loss of agricultural knowledge: HIV/AIDS has contributed to a loss of knowledge in crop management, pest control, soil fertility, crop and produce storage, freshwater fisheries, forest products, and traditional livestock management. The lack of knowledge is affecting the uptake of improved farming practices. Labour patterns: Among HIV/AIDS effects on labour allocation is the loss of labour due to illness or death and the out migration of youths from the farm to look for waged labour. The pandemic has also contributed to some changes in gender roles and relations with women spending more time looking after the sick, and less time on their productive activities especially those related to farming. Household finances: The reduced availability of household labour, declining crop productivity and yields, sale or loss of assets, and increasing demands on household financial resources are all contributing to greater poverty. This has implications on food security and nutrition, peoples susceptibility to HIV/AIDS, and communities resilience to the negative impacts of other phenomena. Household food security and nutrition: Households recognize the importance of good nutrition for the sick and the young, but poverty and increased numbers of dependants are preventing them from obtaining appropriate foods. Households access to food is negatively affected by reduced labour availability (and the resultant declines in crop areas cultivated and crop yields), declining household income bases and the effects of asset loss. Consequently, the most vulnerable groups (orphan-headed and female-headed households) reported that they had to decrease their number of meals, often consumed inadequate amounts of key foods and food groups (such as starchy staples, animal products, legumes, fruits and vegetables), and at times had an insufficient amount of food for the entire household. Forty three percent of all households in the survey sample stated that they had experienced food shortages during the month prior to the survey. Widow- and orphan-headed households were less able to cope, with a high proportion of 63% and 55% of these households respectively reporting a food shortage. Affected households increased food insecurity is forcing them to depend more on relatives for help, and this is damaging their sense of dignity and self-respect. Based on this study, appropriate response strategies and activities were developed, one of which is described below.

Pilot project: Farmer Field and Life Schools as a response strategy to HIV-AIDS AIDS orphans and female-headed households are among the poorest-of-the-poor within Namibia and efforts to help them are difficult. At a minimum, these children and households need targeted and concentrated assistance to achieve any measure of increased year-round food security and increased household income. As a response to the growing number of orphans and widows, MPC (Multi Purpose Consultancy) and other partners -with technical advice of UNAM in horticulture and irrigation, technical backstopping from FAO, feeding scheme from WFP and sponsored by the Finnish Embassy in Namibia- established two pilot Farmer Field and Life School (FFLS) projects (one junior and one adult) in the Endola area of Ohangwena. The junior FFLS is designed specifically for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC; in particular the HIV/AIDS orphans), and the adult FFLS, is designed to target poor and vulnerable adults (widows and female-headed households) affected by HIV/AIDS. Twenty four facilitators (extension workers, teachers, social animators, civil society volunteers) who were trained over a period of 9 days were used to implement the FFLS projects. Thirty orphans and vulnerable children between 1218 years of age and thirty widows were trained for a period of 6 months in agricultural (field preparation, sowing and transplanting, weeding, irrigation, pest control, utilization and conservation of available resources, utilization and processing of food crops, harvesting, and storage and marketing) and life skills (Interpersonal skills in teamwork, communication, human relations and social interaction; entrepreneurial skills). The curriculum has a practical agricultural bias, covering both traditional and modern agricultural practices. The following are the positive and visible outcomes of both FFLS projects in Endola. Enhancement of the link between education and agriculture to promote holistic education for rural children and vulnerable adults. Competent and assertive agricultural and life skills among vulnerable youths and adults. Improved learning processes and outcomes in adult educational programmes.

The importance of agriculture and its contribution to personal well-being, nutrition and food security was well demonstrated.

LESSONS LEARNT Lack of an adequate policy on urban agriculture From the experience gained in these projects, the main factor that strongly influences the success of urban agriculture projects that aim to positively influence nutrition and income situation in households affected by HIV/AIDS is the absence of a policy on urban agriculture in Namibia. This lack of policy (and therefore lack of recognition/acceptance of urban agriculture by government and municipal officials) constrains the development and intensification of urban agriculture. In the case of project 2 described above, it took the Windhoek Municipality two years to accept the implementation of the project within its boundaries. The absence of policy also meant that urban producers neither get technical advice from extension officers nor get considered for financial and other support usually availed to rural producers. Therefore, the production of vegetables and fruits fit for human consumption cannot be assured. Access to land and water Most urban agriculture-taking place in Namibia is carried out in the backyards with very few carried out in urban open spaces. Due to lack of policy on urban agriculture, the municipalities have no areas demarcated for urban agriculture. Consequently, those who use open spaces for urban agriculture do so illegally, although the municipal officers rarely trouble them. However, animal husbandry within urban boundaries is very strictly controlled and in fact discouraged. While few chickens may be kept for some time for home consumption, municipal officials would impound other animals found within the municipal boundaries. The non-allocation of land for urban agriculture makes it difficult, if not nearly impossible, for prospective urban farming projects to start. However, Municipal officers, due to their sensitivity to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, may now be willing to allocate land in the fringes of their boundaries for peri- urban agriculture projects. Being the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa, water is the main limiting factor to any form of land husbandry in Namibia. Water for agricultural purposes has the least priority in Namibia compared to water for human consumption and for industrial purposes. Even within the allocation of water for agriculture, water for irrigation is rated much lower than water for animal consumption. Meanwhile, water is the most important input in urban agriculture in Namibia. The most common source of water for urban farming is rainwater sometimes supplemented by tap water. In Namibia, rainwater is very limited (30-550 mm per year) unreliable and falls within a relatively short period (late November-early March). The cost of tap water is high (over US$ 1/m3) and this might affect the success or failure of urban farming projects for alleviating the nutrition and income plights of HIV/AIDS affected families. The studies show that water is expensive compared to the returns from urban agriculture. Any organization venturing into any urban agriculture project in Namibia should first ensure that there would be a reliable and cheap source of water for the project. This will require serious negotiations with the Municipalities on availing land close to the municipal wastewater recycle plants for the project. Another solution may be to grow high value crops, which can then be sold for cash that will pay for the water and other inputs as well as generate some income.

Some of the projects considered ways of making water more available to urban farmers such as rainwater harvesting, reuse of wastewater and use of water from rivers and canal (there is a 160km long water canal running through many of the towns in north central regions of Namibia where nearly half of the population lives). Water harvesting for individual garden projects require the purchase of water tanks costing between US$ 50-US$500 for unit ranging from 1m3 to 10m3. This initial cost is well beyond the means of most urban farmers except with external funding. Some municipalities (especially Windhoek) recycle their wastewater and make them available at cheap rates for watering grass and flowers but not for agriculture purposes. The water recycling method using the integrated biogas digested (described above) is also very expensive and beyond the means of most individual households. Results from this project, however, indicated that the products from the digesters are safe for human consumption (a major fear of many people involved in the projects). An irrigation method that was found simple, affordable and effective is the Family Drip System (FDS). This system was piloted at UNAM and is found not only to be efficient in applying water but also to be cost effective. Water is collected in a raised drum and is conveyed through PVC lateral pipes to simple drippers. This method covers twice the area that is normally covered by surface irrigation methods. The FDS is used for irrigation of small & medium plots, backyard gardens etc from 100 m to 2000 m. The system has been used for irrigation of vegetables, orchards, fruit trees, row crops and greenhouses. The FDS, being gravity-based, does not require any energy source for its operation and it is suitable for all types of soils, climates, and water sources and on flat land or slight slopes. The cost of this system is about US$ 200 per 1000 m2. The system was also introduced to the JFFLS plot at Endola and it is working perfectly.

Reduction of labour requirements Most urban agriculturalists rely on their own labour to perform agriculture activities. However, households affected by HIV/AIDS spend more time looking after the sick and less time on their productive activities, especially on urban agriculture. In some cases, older children are used to take care of their siblings and to help in urban

farming, sometimes to the detriment of their schooling. In many cases the urban gardens were completely ignored or abandoned. There are two possible approaches to reduce the effects of the loss of labour in affected households. One approach is to make use of labour efficient/labour saving agricultural practices and the second one is to encourage cooperation among urban farmers through cooperatives and support groups. There are already many HIV/AIDS support-groups and organisations formed to offer other psychosocial support to affected members. By pooling their labour and other resources together, members involved in such projects would be able to carry the labour requirements of the farming when some other members are sick or indisposed. The right mix of crops, trees and animals The model developed by FAO and used in the Junior FFLS in Endola contains: Staples (traditional millet, sorghum, maize, sweet potatoes) to fill the stomach The Vegetable garden (beans, carrots, tomatoes, green pepper and spinach) and Fruit trees (pawpaw, granadilla and guava, aloe) to provide a healthy growth Medicinal plants (garlic and other herbs) to boost the immune system A chicken house to raise indigenous chickens for egg production and as supplementary for income generation. Alternatively: goat or rabbit keeping These range of crops and animals result in production of food products that can guarantee balanced diet and improved nutrition. The diversification of enterprise to include chicken, goat or rabbit keeping can be used to expand the base of income generation. Another enterprise that could be considered for diversification of urban agriculture is aquaculture. The market potential for fish is good and it has high nutritional value. Wherever water is available, aquaculture can be easily combined with horticultural production in an integrated system. Institutional aspects For the full potential of urban agriculture to be realised, there is need for government departments, the municipalities and the private sector to be involved. The government and the municipalities can provide a conducive policy environment that encourages the producers to grow high value vegetables, fruits, poultry and small stock using sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies. The policy should embody an allocation of responsibilities amongst the concerned authorities in respect to legal recognition of urban and peri-urban agriculture, guidelines on the correct husbandry practices as well as the protection of the environment for sustainable production. Any successful project should aim at fully utilising existing structures and institutions. There are several Municipal departments such as the Urban Planning, Social Welfare, Water Affairs, and AIDS Coordinating Committee etc that should be involved in drafting policies and laws to promote urban agriculture as well as providing resources such as land, water etc for the success of the projects. Also inputs from several Ministries are required: the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (providing extension technicians to conduct training on various livestock & crop production activities to urban producers groups and HIV-Aids affected families; nutrition and food security monitoring), the Ministry of Health and Social Services (provision of training on HIV/AIDS issues and provision of affordable health care services), the Ministry of Women Affairs, Child Welfare and Gender (provision of training on gender issues and assistance in the selection of project participants). Non-Governmental Organisations (like Africare, AIDS Law Unit, Namibia Red Cross Society and Catholic AIDS Action) can provide HIV/AIDS affected households

with counselling services and home-based care, organisational support to farming groups, technical training, and so forth. They should be seen as active partners in any project activities. Community Based Organisations (e.g. LILONGO EPARU, TKMOAS, Namibian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NNP+) and OMWENE TULENGENE) can contribute by providing home based care to infected and affected HIV/AIDS households and awareness creation and advocacy on how urban agriculture can positively improve the health, nutrition and financial status of HIV/AIDS affected households. Educational Institutions (University of Namibia and Agricultural Colleges) can provide technical backstopping and training in agricultural production and food processing through their community development programmes. International Organisations (e.g. FAO, WFP, UNDP, UNAIDS, WHO) can provide their international backing and ability to attract funds. Public and Private Financial Institutions (like Agribank) can provide financial backing in terms of grants and soft loans and supplementary funding for agricultural projects with HIV/AIDS affected communities. Ensuring sustainability The sustainability of urban agriculture projects can therefore be defined as the ability of the projects to keep going continuously without failing for as long as they are needed. This implies the ability to institutionalise the whole idea of urban farming and sustain it with appropriate funds in order to meet the nutrition and food security demand of HIV/AIDS affected households now and in the future. All the stakeholders identified above need to work jointly and for common purpose under the framework of existing structures. One such structure that could be used in Namibia is the Food Security and Nutrition Secretariat in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, which already coordinates food security and nutrition issues in conjunction with other relevant stakeholders. The sustainability of the field approach should take into account the economic, ecological and social dimensions. This means that the ability to produce sufficient, affordable, quality food, while protecting the environment and biodiversity and ensuring that farming is economically viable and contributes to the well being of the HIV/AIDS affected households. A major limitation to any urban agriculture project aimed at generating income is the lack of proper market structures to market the produce from the farms. An HIV/AIDS group in Odibo (Northern Namibia) started producing vegetables, but there was no market for the surplus, so the garden failed. Of joint importance to marketing as limitations for generating income are inadequate processing and storage of the excess produce. Processing and storage of the produce can result in properly packaged nutritious food that can be helpful to HIV/AIDS patients, babies and elderly people; and can keep for long and be marketable at the local shops. So, an effective way to upscale production of urban agriculture projects is to introduce proper market structures as well as promote proper storage, grading and packaging of produce. Of course this, and other strategies aimed at up scaling urban agriculture, will work only if and when the concept of urban agriculture has been institutionalized and recognized by the government in form of policy.

References DIMA S. J., A. A. OGUNMOKUN: AND T. NANTANGA (2002) The status of urban and Peri-urban agriculture in Windhoek and Oshakati Namibia. ftp://ftp.fao.org/sd/sdw/sdww/nam_periurban_02.pdf MULTI PURPOSE CONSULTANCY (2005) Meeting the challenge of HIV/AIDS on rural livelihoods in Namibia. Report submitted to the Embassy of Finland, Windhoek Namibia. Feb. 2005. OGUNMOKUN A. A.; O. D. MWANDEMELE AND S. J. DIMA (2000): Use of Recycled waste water from biogas digesters for vegetable production in the Goreangab Dam Area of Windhoek Municipality. 1st

WARFSA/WaterNet Symposium on Sustainable Use of Water Resources: Advances in Education and st nd research. Maputo, Mozambique, 1 - 2 Nov. 2000. OGUNMOKUN: A. A., S. J. DIMA AND T. NANTANGA (2002) How much farming is taking place in urban areas? Presented at the conference on Towards a civil and caring society on 17-19 June 2002 at the University of Namibia, Northern Campus OGUNMOKUN A. A, MWANDEMELE O. D. AND MUBIANA. F. (2002) The use of biogas as alternative fuel source in the Goreangab Dam Area of Windhoek, Namibia. Presented at the Regional Workshop on the Renewable Energy and its applications for the Rural Development, at the Ministry of Mines & Energy, Windhoek, Namibia, 18th-19th July 2002. OGUNMOKUN A. A. (2003) Impact of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production, household food security and nutritional status in Ohangwena Region of Namibia. Report submitted to FAO Rome. ftp://ftp.fao.org/sd/SDW/SDWW/namibia_hiv_aids_survey_2003.pdf