French support to horticulture in disadvantaged periurban areas [fr]

On the 28 October 2011, Mr Jean-Louis ZOËL, Ambassador of France in Namibia, paid an official visit to the “Veggie tunnels” Project at Hope Village HIV Hospice in Katutura, Windhoek implemented by the Judea Harvest Namibia’s association.

Visit of French Ambassador to the « Vegitunnels » Project at Hope Village HIV Hospice, Katutura, Windhoek

28 October 2011

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From left to right, Albie Oloefse (Judea Harvest Namibia), Albert Fosso (UPH), Emmanuel Muyumba (the « Vegitunnel champion »), Jean-Louis Zoël and Marietjie de Klerk (Hope Village).

On the 28 October 2011, Mr Jean-Louis ZOËL, Ambassador of France in Namibia, paid an official visit to the “Veggie tunnels” Project at Hope Village HIV Hospice in Katutura, Windhoek implemented by the Judea Harvest Namibia’s association.

The « Veggie tunnels » make use of hydroponics to grow high-yield plants on a limited floor space in urban and suburban environment. France, via its « Social Fund for Development » (SFD), wanted to support this initiative which helps fighting against malnutrition in an arid country where food takes about 60% of household income.

A grant by the Embassy’s SFD of 250 000 N$ has paved the way for the construction and/or rehabilitation of these veggie tunnels in 10 reception centres for vulnerable persons in the townships of Okahandja, Rehoboth and Windhoek.

The initiatives of local production in Namibia are recent and still very uncommon as the majority of fruit and vegetables are imported from South Africa. At the same time, urbanization is accompanied by high levels of poverty, unemployment, and malnutrition. It is forecast that by 2030, the urban population will outnumber the rural areas, therefore enhancing the need for sustainable horticulture and income generating activities.

Judea Harvest Namibia, a NGO, has been assisting the less fortunate population of Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja since 2008, by setting up “Veggie Tunnels” for food production in those areas. Most of those Veggie tunnels are associated to nutrition plans thanks to which all produced vegetables are channelled directly to the kitchens of the social centres. Staff members of these centres are trained in the basic techniques of horticulture and entrepreneurship. And so-called « champions » are selected to ensure the sustainability of the project.

The surplus of production is locally sold and provides additional income to the project and to the operation of the social centre. In the case of Hope Village, the 4 Veggie tunnels produce fresh horticulture products of high nutritional quality to the 82 orphans of the Centre and approximately 70% of the production is sold to consumers’ collectives (Bank of Windhoek) or to a marketing network (Fruit and Veg).

This new initiative, well received by the FAO, appealed to the private sector (Bank of Windhoek, Meatco, Red Cross) and the public sector (City of Windhoek, Ministry of Agriculture). Next year, it could be one of the foundations for the formulation of a national policy dedicated to supporting horticulture in peri-urban areas.

published on 03/11/2011

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