EIF to establish a financing facility to support agriculture

Martin Endjala

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) plans to establish a sustainable financing facility that supports value chains and market penetration of agricultural production. This is to enhance long term adaptation capacities within the peri-urban environments.

The submission of this project is said to have been submitted at the Green Climate Fund (GCF) programme consultations which kicked off on the 18 January 2023, at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort with various stakeholders.

The signing of the Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with the GCF in Songdo, South Korea on the 15th of September 2022 between the GCF and the EIF of Namibia, it is said to have officially signaled the pursuance of the EIF’s programming pipeline.

This is according to EIF Manager for Corporate Communications Lot Ndamanomhata, who said that the EIF by virtue of its’ mandate has been set up by an Act of Parliament to mobilize resources and the Funds vision is to be a recognized leader in the development of and application of innovative financing mechanisms to support environmentally and climate resilient development pathways in Namibia.

Through this project Ndamanomhata indicated, that the fund intends to establish a sustainable financing facility that will support value chains and market penetration of agricultural production.

This sustainable financing facility is said to be key in creating jobs, upskilling workers, expanding service provision in areas underserved by the government, and increasing the tax base to fund important social and economic development objectives.

“The objective is to create a blended financing facility in a form of green guarantee scheme under this project will be used to de-risk the EIF Green Credit Line and attract an additional investments through leveraging from private sector and capital recycling”, explained Ndamanomhata.

Furthermore, the communications manager highlighted that climate change and climate variability is one of the key drivers of immigration in Namibia. Lamenting that urban households in Namibia are increasingly finding it difficult to generate income from subsistence agriculture.

This he said, is due to climate change impacts, notably degraded lands, water scarcity, and rainfall variability, keep subsistence agricultural production very low, with little chance of having surpluses that could be marketed.

Adding that as a result, most people in rural areas resort to moving to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities.

“Most of the migrants from rural areas and small towns usually settle in informal settlements in urban areas”, Ndamanomhata pointed out.

In addition to this, he opines that this results in the proliferation of urban shacks, which is one of the most prominent phenomena of the growth of major towns and cities, and potentially one of the most pressing future challenges of cities and towns in Namibia.

Climate change is considered a key driver of rural-urban migration in Namibia. Hence the project is strongly aligned and seeks to scale up the successes from the recently funded project by the government of Japan.

Titled Strengthening Namibia food systems to recover from emergencies and disease-related shocks through Building Back Better (BBB) that managed to reach up to 399 beneficiaries across four regions in Namibia Ndamanomhata maintained.

As highlighted by the United Nations Development Programme publication on Namibia, Strengthening food systems to recover from emergencies and disease-related shocks through the Build Back Better programme (UNDP, 2021), of which EIF was an implementing partner responsible for the grants management.

The project is said to have immediately responded to the emerging need of food security while strengthening the resilience of respective communities to respond climatic shocks.

The interventions proposed by this project are intended to generate alternative income streams to complement subsistence agriculture through the inclusion of enterprise business solutions and value addition components, which ultimately enhance their resilience to climate shocks.

Ndamanomhata further explained that the project interventions will target those local authorities that have been identified to have constituencies with very low to low adaptive capacities.

Meanwhile, In 2020, key stakeholders were consulted during the scoping process and recommended to the EIF the formation of a Technical Working Group to be comprised of the EIF.

The National Designated Authority (NDA) which is the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN).

The Namibia Association of Local Authorities Offices (NALAO), the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) and the UN organizations (UNDP and WPF).

The group convened on the 18th January 2023, to discuss the proposed proposal in more detail whilst also addressing the comments received from the GCF.

This is to expedite the process Ndamanomhata stressed, whilst informing that the EIF has commenced with plans to recruit a technical expert to further develop this proposal which is intended for submission to GCF by March 2023.

By Observer