750 goats distributed under Irema Kunene project

DISTRIBUTION … Some of the 750 goats being distributed among 32 beneficiaries at the Khorixas auction kraal on Thursday.

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) and the office of the Kunene governor handed over 750 goats and 300 energy-efficient stoves to disadvantaged people in the Kunene region.

The project, held under the Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management Practices (Irema) of smallholder farmers under conditions of climate change at Sesfontein, Fransfontein and Warmquelle Areas, was funded by the Green Climate Fund.

Kunene governor Marius Sheya, in a keynote address at the event at the Khorixas auction kraal on 29 February, highlighted the importance of climate adaptation measures for rural communities.

He said more than 750 goats – 700 does and 57 bucks – were handed over to 32 beneficiaries as part of a goat rotation scheme.

Of these beneficiaries, 17 are from the Khorixas constituency, seven from the Sesfontein area, five from the Grootberg area and three from the Otjokavare area, Sheya said.

“The value of the goats, medicine and vaccine is estimated at N$1,5 million. To date, the project has had 88 beneficiaries under the goat revolving scheme.

“Today, we are also witnessing the handing over of 300 energy-efficient stoves to poor rural households valued at N$1,5 million. This intervention is expected to reduce the deforestation rate due to minimised utilisation of firewood by the beneficiaries, 70% of whom are women,” said Sheya.

He added that the distribution of the goats and energy-efficient stoves aims to enhance food and nutrition security, especially for vulnerable farmers impacted by prolonged drought.

“The importance of this intervention cannot be understated. Implementation of appropriate climate adaptation measures to ensure food and nutrition security is critical for improved livelihoods of rural communities.

“That’s why the government is vested with the responsibility of ensuring that there is a consistent balance between environmental protection and food production, despite the challenges we are facing,” he said.

EIF Programming and Programmes manager Bernadette Shivute-Shalumbu emphasised the significance of the Irema project in responding to recurrent droughts in the Kunene region.

The project focuses on alternative farming practices, particularly the introduction of Boer goats as a resilient alternative to cattle farming in the region.

Additionally, the project addresses deforestation through the distribution of energy-efficient stoves that require less wood, contributing to environmental sustainability.

The collaboration between the EIF, MAWLR and Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism was acknowledged as pivotal in achieving regional and national climate resilience objectives.

The recipients were chosen through a consultative process involving constituency committees and the traditional authority, ensuring local ownership and strengthening community development.

The beneficiaries were urged to use the assets responsibly.

The EIF emphasised reinvesting in communities, fostering prosperity and contributing to the country’s path of development.
The successful handover signifies a collaborative effort to combat climate challenges, support vulnerable farmers and promote sustainable practices in the Kunene region.
– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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