Closing the gap: bringing communal farmers and service institutions together for livestock and rangeland development

Publication Year:

Namibia is an extremely arid country with very low and erratic rainfall. It has a population of 1.7 million people; most Namibians are subsistence farmers living in communal areas that are underdeveloped and poorly managed. Most farmers raise livestock under harsh climatic conditions. The Sustainable Animal and Range Development Programme (SARDEP) helps communal subsistence farmers improve livestock production and range management. Work done by SARDEP concluded that communal farmers are poorly organized, unaware of participatory development and unfamiliar with the concept of self-help. SARDEP also suggests that sustainable livestock and range development in communal areas cannot be based on the conventional development approach. This top-down and input-oriented approach rarely meets farmer needs. In fact, the non-involvement of farmers in the development process leaves a wide gap of untouched development opportunities. To achieve sustainable development SARDEP decided to support a process that closes this gap between farmers and service institutions. SARDEP developed the 'negotiation approach,' which supports the empowerment of grassroots-level organisations, considered the prime movers for development. At the same time SARDEP helps service institutions interact closely with target groups and reorient their services toward well-formulated farmer needs and demands. To allow such development to grow, SARDEP also contributes at the national level toward formulating a conductive policy framework for sustainable natural resource management. Keywords: communal farmers, Namibia, SARDEP, community-based organizations.

Publication Title:

Journal of Arid Environments

Item Type:
Journal Article

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