Bank Windhoek to host online event focused on smart-agri practices

Bank Windhoek, in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), and Namibian Organic Association (NOA), will host a two-day online agricultural event, on Wednesday, 7 until Thursday, 8 October 2020.

With reputable Australian Soil Ecologist, Dr Christine Jones, as the key speaker, the event will be a four-part series on Transforming to Smart-agriculture Practices, under the following themes: Regenerative Rangeland Management for Climate Change Adaptation; Organic Agriculture and Nutrition, Agriculture Economics, Business and Marketing and the Role of the Bank in Financing Climate Change Initiatives. The Bank Windhoek Agriculture Series will be live-streamed on the Bank Windhoek Facebook and YouTube pages.

Bank Windhoek's Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services, Jacquiline Pack, said that as a connector of positive change and responsible corporate citizen, the Bank believes in driving progress in the communities in which it operates. "The agriculture sector is a pivotal stakeholder to Bank Windhoek and our country; thus, we believe it is important to engage and have knowledge sharing sessions that contribute to progress in the agriculture sector," she said. 

The importance of agriculture in Namibia 

Research has found that 70 percent of the Namibian population directly or indirectly depends on agricultural activities for their livelihood through employment and subsistence agriculture. The sector annually contributes 3.5 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "This shows the imperative role agriculture plays for the country, hence the need for increased investments, productivity, and engagement," said Pack.

The agriculture sector is the biggest employer, constituting 24 percent of the labour force. However, being a semi-arid country, Namibia receives low rainfall with only two percent of the land receiving good rains, and others sometimes receive below-average precipitation. The below-average rainfall affects agricultural productivity and therefore threatens the 70 percent of the sector's sustainability.

Meaningful collaborations

The NNF and NOA's collaborative efforts entail undertaking joint sustainable agriculture interventions by seeking to align relevant projects and activities and make significant contributions to such development through education, training, and research and extension activities.

GIZ supports the Namibian Government and relevant stakeholders in promoting the sustainable and climate-adapted development of the agricultural sector, ultimately leading to improved food security and rural welfare. Following a multi-pronged approach, GIZ works on policy, institutional, and target group levels to foster agricultural production systems diversification and encourage climate-sensitive production methods, namely conservation and promoting innovative agribusiness developments along the value chain.

In cooperation with Bank Windhoek and other financial institutions, GIZ seeks to investigate suitable financing models that will enable small-scale farmers and agricultural enterprises to enhance the sustainable utilisation of natural resources and improve their productivity and profitability.

"The Bank Windhoek Agriculture Series aligns with both NNF and GIZ's objectives of investing, seeking sustainable solutions which benefit Namibia's agriculture sector," concluded Pack.

Dr Christine Jones' profile

She is an active participant and supporter of an Australian movement into a Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme. With numerous journals and publications produced on regenerative land management techniques, Dr Jones possesses ample knowledge of the treatment and maintenance of vast environmental resources. She has completed a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales, Kensington, followed by a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of New England, New South Wales, enabling her to be an expert in her teachings of air, land and water sciences. 

During and upon completion of her notable qualifications, Dr Jones proceeded to teach and research within the University of New South Wales, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Division of Textile Technology, the University of New England in Agronomy, Soil Science, and Botany, as well as, the New South Wales Department of Land and Water Conservation.

For more information, schedules and speakers, visit the Bank Windhoek Facebook Page or contact Veripura Muukua via The Bank's first agricultural event took place in 2018, under the theme Smart Farming Practices.

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