WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Agri Connexions Africa works in one of the poorest parts of Namibia—the remote northeast—where small-scale farmers, over two-thirds of the rural population, contend with disappointing crop yields, hampered by unreliable rainfall patterns and depleted soils. We listen to farmer-expressed needs and work alongside our farmer partners to equip them with the skills and tools to achieve better crop yields and gain access to markets.
OUR IMPACT AREAS
Climate resilient agriculture
Smallholder rain-fed agricultural production fluctuates annually due to unreliable rainfall patterns—droughts and dry spells—exacerbated in frequency and intensity by climate change. In order to better withstand changing climatic conditions, farmers are actively adapting agricultural practices to meet their needs for higher and more consistent yields. Agri Connexions Africa contributes to these efforts through community-based agricultural extension services, linking farmers with the resources needed to adapt agriculture practices.
Small-scale farmers often grow crops year-round—cereal crops during the rainy season and vegetables during the dry season to augment diets and incomes. Limited access to water, high temperatures, low soil fertility and pest and disease outbreaks are some of the challenges farmers face. Agri Connexions Africa assists farmers to use limited water resources and the local natural resource base as efficiently and effectively as possible—through the application of agro-ecological, or sustainable, farming methods— to improve the quality and diversity of cultivated crops.
Sustainable school yards
Youth learn about agriculture—its importance and best practices—in primary and secondary school, but practical learning opportunities to complement theoretical learning are often limited. ACA partners with primary and secondary schools to help establish and strengthen school gardens. Students are trained on sustainable agricultural methods (compost production and water management to name a few) then take over the day-to-day responsibilities of managing gardens.
Small-scale farmers’ engagement with markets is often constrained by a number of factors—a lack of volume, consistency and quality demanded by some market outlets and low profit margins. We help farmers to better understand market needs and plan production activities accordingly. We have also experimented with collective marketing platforms, though there is much work to be done.
The cornerstone of Agri Connexions Africa’s approach is community-based agricultural extension, which facilitates practical training and ongoing mentorship services to hundreds of targeted smallholder farmers. Through this approach, we strengthen the technical, training and leadership capacities of talented Community Trainers who, in turn, mentor farmers in their communities. In this way, knowledge, capacity, agency, and leadership is rooted within the communities we serve.
Community Trainers deliver training and mentorship sessions to mentee farmers throughout the seasonal agricultural cycles. The trainers are assisted with local-language training aides, embedded with photos and graphics, so that they are appropriate to targeted farmers, whose literacy levels are varied. We help to strengthen the skills of our dedicated and highly capable Community Trainers by providing on-going internal and external training opportunities