Driving sustainable cattle production in Northern Namibia

Namibia is a country with immense ecological diversity. The communal pasture areas in the north of the country are overgrazed and unmanaged. The cattle herds in the north are generally in poor condition, under-commercialized and used as a status symbol or as “walking saving accounts” for communal livestock families.

Solidaridad, in collaboration with the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meat Co Namibia), has launched a project to enable 2 400 traditional smallholder communal farmers to manage their livestock sustainably, carry out rangeland management, improvements in biodiversity, soil quality and access new local and regional markets. The project will be implemented in Kavango, Oshikoro, Ombusatri, and Kunene.

The project is in cooperation between Meat Co and the Namibian NGO Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation Trust (IRDNC). The project is supported by the largest Danish retailer COOP which plans to invest part of the revenue of the sales of beef from Namibia in its retail chain towards efforts to improve beef production in Namibia. The co-operative currently purchases beef from Meat Co and sells it under the brand name Savanaah. 

Accessing external markets

Farmers in the north of Namibia have traditionally not been able to access external markets due to the prevalence of diseases and lack of resources to gain access. This has led to unsustainable farming practices such as overstocking, and low investment in livestock farming within the project area. Improved bull genetics, commercial training, and a loan scheme will be implemented. Through this cooperation, new ground will be broken to enable farmers to sustainably produce beef through a substantial investment from the project partners.

Through existing projects the COOP has invested over €100,000 and by the end of the project over €300,000 in cash funding would have been disbursed. The funding, together with Farmer Support Programme, will facilitate the sustainable production of beef and improvement of livelihoods for local farmers.

After the life-span of the project, the cumulative benefit to new farmers will amount to additional revenue of €3.3 million released as cash into the communal area. Solidaridad expect that the increased income will enable the farmers to have more disposable money. The additional income can be used to reduce food insecurity, send children to school and will cover the reinvestment costs in replacement of calves. In this way the project partners expect to contribute towards a reduction in poverty, sustainable management of communal environments and improved livelihoods in the respective communities.