Feature: Chinese embassy boosts community gardening project in Namibia

2021-09-18 10:31:24 GMT2021-09-18 18:31:24(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- A community gardening project supported by the Chinese embassy in Namibia enhances locals' capacity to sustain, boost and transform food systems.

The Youth in Agriculture organisation, supported by the Chinese embassy in Namibia, launched the Community Gardening and Food System Project.

According to Ndatulumukwa Haikali, executive chairman of Youth in Agriculture, the project involves the construction of backyard gardens, training and the transfer of modernized gardening systems.

Haikali said that the project aims to tackle the lack of access to modern farming technologies experienced by the poorest smallholders and support private sector mechanized service providers and maintenance services.

By "strengthening food systems throughout, promoting technologies that increase to productivity, agro-processing and linking smallholder farmers to the market", the project helps address food and nutrition insecurity at the grassroots, Haikali said on Friday.

The Megameno Orphanage Home in Namibia's capital, Windhoek, is the first beneficiary of the Community Gardening and Food System Project.

Jeremia Shalukeni, beneficiary team leader from Megameno Orphanage Home, said that the project would positively impact the facility, especially the 26 children under its care.

"We previously depended on food donations, but with this garden, we will be able to produce our food and hopefully expand our garden. Our children have been trained to maintain the garden, and we are grateful for these services," he said.

Shalukeni lauded the Chinese embassy for the support provided, saying that it enabled the foundation of a project that would have a ripple effect on the home long term.

"We commend the Youth in Agriculture organisation and its partners such as the Chinese embassy for their dedication to improving the food system and promoting food production," Shalukeni added.

Moreover, the project is also envisaged to ignite young people's interest in agriculture further to transform food systems in the country.

According to Haikali, the young people have been afforded opportunities to find economic means from the garden and grow their food rather than buy from stores.

"Now, after school, children will not just be playing around but now have some responsibility of taking care of the garden. It is about teaching them to be responsible while young. These are practical examples that lead to civic and patriotism of youth," said Haikali.

To ensure sustainability, the organization has since established a monitoring and evaluation committee to administer that the beneficiaries yield good harvest continuously and the garden is well taken care of in terms of physical infrastructure and the growth of produces.

In the interim, Haikali said plans are underway to roll out the program countrywide depending on funding availed as each garden set-up can cost up to 20,000 Namibian dollars (1,380 U.S. dollars). Enditem