Food is Fundamental: Farm Okukuna launched
Ground-breaking at a Pioneering Project in Goreangab
Windhoek, 22 February 2018. In the far north-west of Windhoek, on the boarder of the informal settlements of Goreangab, a visionary new project was born yesterday. Farm Okukuna wants to improve food and nutrition security in the capital’s northern settlements.
At the ground-breaking ceremony, City of Windhoek Councillor Ananias Niizimba pointed out that “Farm Okukuna will be the centre for a number of programmes, including growing food, marketing it, supporting small enterprises and entrepreneurship and – also very important – improving nutrition”. The City of Windhoek has provided the erf, is putting up fencing and will organise basic services such as security, electricity, semi-pure and fresh water.
Councillor Niizimba stressed that “Farm Okukuna would not be possible without the partners who bring in expertise and funding”. The Namibia Future Farming Trust (NFF) has already successfully established 11 aquaponics sites in Windhoek and is the proud winner of the Namibian 2017 Sustainable Development Awards. At Okukuna Farm, NFF will be setting up hydro-/aquaponics, with initial funding from the Finnish Embassy. Community members will be trained and encouraged to use traditional methods for preserving leafy greens (steaming and drying) to produce ekaka or ombindi.
Suvi Valkonen of the Fund for Local Co-operation of the Embassy of Finland called for more stakeholders to come on board: “Here we have land, work and know-how. Let’s make this project profitable and beneficial for the communities”.
Permaculture will be a further focus at Farm Okukuna. The Eloolo Permaculture Initiative has proved that this method is very suitable for growing food in Windhoek’s testing climate. At Farm Okukuna they will develop, with volunteers, systems that work on a small or medium scale and can be easily adopted and enhanced by local communities on the farm and in the informal settlements, such as tree-grass-animal systems and home-yard systems. The Permaculture designers and trainers are funded through the Liselotte Stiftung, a foundation from Hamburg, Germany.
Farm Okukuna is also envisioned to be the nucleus for further developing Windhoek’s food system to be more sustainable, inclusive, safe and diverse and to provide healthy and affordable food to all. The World Future Council and the City of Windhoek have been engaging for a number of years on such programmes. Ina Neuberger Wilkie of the World Future Council, who is a member of the executive committee of Farm Okukuna, pointed out the significance of the project. A recent study of the African Food Security Urban Network in co-operation with UNAM found that food insecurity in Windhoek’s informal settlements has increased from 89% to 92% over the past 9 years. “People need to be able to eat enough, healthy and diverse food. People, who do not eat well, cannot learn well and will not work well. Food is fundamental”, she stressed.
Ina Neuberger Wilkie
Senior Project Manager, World Future Council
Phone: +264 (0) 81 244 39 81