SADC Agriculture Water Management & Food Security - Upper Okavango Basin


  • Reference: P-Z1-AAC-006
  • Appraisal Date: 17/06/2011
  • Board Presentation: 25/10/2011
  • Status: PipelinePIPE
  • Location: OKAVANGO BASIN


Project Components Structure and Cost The two participating countries will share a common project, although not all activities will apply equally in both countries. Proposed components are: 1. Increased Agricultural Productivity and Output Value 2. Sustainable Natural Resources Utilization and Management 3. Community and Institutional Development and Financing 4. Infrastructure Development 5. Project Coordination and Management The project will be structured so as to have two implementing units at national level, linked through a single coordination mechanism, probably within the Okavango River Commission (OKACOM).

Description of Project Activities

Component 1: Increased Agricultural Productivity and Output Value

The principal purpose of this component is to identify and disseminate technical knowledge of improved approaches to water management, agricultural production (including livestock and aquaculture) and market access to smallholder farmers within the project area. This will provide both increased local food supplies as well as linkages to the agribusiness chain for processing, transport and supply beyond the basin area. The following major and subsidiary activities are proposed:


(i) Crop production: "Field testing and demonstration of new small-scale production approaches including the utilization of water conservation techniques, expanded use of inputs, improved varieties and crop diversification; "Introduction of farmer-based production of open pollination seed varieties at community level; "Demonstration of small scale agriculture mechanization and animal traction techniques; "Technical support for expanded irrigated crop production. In Namibia this is envisaged as occurring largely through the Government's 'Green Scheme', already being implemented in two other sites in Namibia under ADB financing (infrastructure would be developed under Component 4); "Identification and field testing of crop diversification candidates.

(ii) Fisheries/Aquaculture: "Support for fishing cooperatives in Cuito Cuanavale, Nancova, Cuchi and Cuelei in Angola, including tanks for restocking and the provision of fishing kits; "Stimulate fish production by private sector fish farmers, especially in Kavango, through training in aquaculture production and the expansion of fry and fingerling production.

(iii) Livestock: "Expanded veterinary capacity; "Demonstration of impact of increased fooder production and usage; "Pasture management and livestock health training for cattle herders.

(iv) Value Addition: "Technical assistance for improved post harvest, storage, processing and marketing skills; "Improving the basic business management and marketing skills of rural traders; "Evaluation of the feasibility of establishing certification and branding to local products to add further value; "Promotion of improved market linkages with national cities and neighbouring countries, including market identification visits, participation in trade fairs, etc.

Component 2: Sustainable Natural Resources Utilisation and Management

This component will focus on ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources within the project area, with particular attention to efficient water resource utilization. Major and subsidiary activities will include:

(i) Natural Resources Management: "Undertake an inventory of the existing natural resources in the basin within both Angola and Namibia, especially those that are unique to the ORB, to assess the opportunity for their sustainable exploitation to improve food security and incomes within the ORB; "Identify, demonstrate and promote sustainable and productive agricultural technologies, including conservation farming, water harvesting and catchment, and slope management and stabilization; "Strengthen land use planning and zoning capacity, including wetland and buffer zone management in order to ensure that sustainable land development takes place. "Sustainable Off-Farm Income Generation: "Creation of legislative and administrative structures to enable the creation of conservancies in Angola, learning from the experiences in Namibia, particularly to facilitate partnerships or joint ventures (JVs) between communities and the private sector; "Provide support to local communities in setting up JVs, management systems and plans, craft centres, community campsites and other facilities; "Marketing of tourism and support for route developments, especially to link the famous and well-developed industry in the Delta (Botswana) with the pristine Angolan catchment; "Promotion of handcraft production and marketing; "Promote production of wild fruits and other indigenous products unique to the basin, (e.g. mangetti oil and wild honey in Angola);

Component 3: Community and Institutional Development and Funding

This component will focus on the creation and strengthening of local capacity and social capital for sustainable economic development and increased food security. Major and subsidiary activities will include:

(i) Community Capacity Development: "Support for the creation and operations of community Water User Groups (rainfed and irrigated) and other special interest groups; "Creation of Farmer Field Schools to experiment with and apply appropriate technologies; "Training of community animators as focal points for demonstration and dissemination of technologies. "Local Institutional Strengthening and Management Skills; "Establishment of agriculture research center in Cuchi (Angola) and a professional training center in Menongue (Angola) "Capacity building to local planning staff (GEPE) in the application of GIS systems "Strengthened capacity for technology transfer and dissemination in local extension services "Expansion of the agricultural planning capacity within OKACOM

(ii) Okavango Community Investment Fund "Creation of a small scale investment fund accessible by communities, groups and local entrepreneurs to provide shared cost financing of productive activities at local level.

Component 4: Infrastructure Development

Extensive requirements for infrastructure rehabilitation and development exist within the project area. This project can only cover the most urgent, agriculturally-related of these needs, but it can also identify and prepare proposals for further infrastructure investment - particularly in roads and bridges. Key major and subsidiary activities include:

(i) De-mining: "Identification and demarcating of roads and significant agricultural production areas still not cleared since the civil conflict; "De-mining of key agricultural supply chain routes identified as hazardous or unsuitable for transit by vehicles.

(ii) Rehabilitation of Agricultural Supply Chain Routes: "Spot rehabilitation of key sections of main arterial roads for agricultural production, including Catuitui- Menongue-Cuito Bie, Menongue-Kuvango and Menongue-Cuito Cuanavale (Angola); "Rehabilitation of feeder and access roads linked to these main arteries for input and output marketing; "Pre-feasibility study for a Calai- Rundu bridge between Angola and Namibia over the Okavango River; "Pre-feasibility study for upgrading and expansion of the Rundu airport, with particular attention to the handling of high value goods.

(iii) Irrigation and Multipurpose Water Storage and Irrigation: "Technical design and financing for rehabilitation and construction of water storage and distribution canals, following feasibility studies, including: "Relining of 3 km of the Missombo irrigation canal (Angola) to irrigate 1,600 ha "Rehabilitation of the 8 km Vissati irrigation channel on the Cuchi River (Angola) to irrigate 10,000 ha "Rehabilitation of the Cambumbe dam (Angola) to irrigate 1,000 ha, expand fish nurseries and supply water for parts of Menongue town "Construction of three small dams on the Cuchi and Cuelei (Angola) rivers to support irrigation "Possible mini hydro-electric facilities for powering irrigation pumps and agroprocessing operations "An off channel storage infrastructure such as Ndonga Linena Muramba in Namibia "Establishment of 2,500 ha of 'Green Scheme' infrastructure (Namibia), including farm development and irrigation infrastructure.

(iv) Other infrastructure: "Municipally-owned storage facilities and market infrastructure to support expansion of market linkages "Construction of animal health infrastructure (dipping tanks and infrastructure for vaccination) "Development of tourism infrastructure including (a) central information services, (b) accommodation facilities, (c) access to attractions on both sides of river, and (d) cultural tourism activities and craft centres.

Component 5: Project Coordination and Management

A Project Implementation Unit will be required in each country. Where possible this unit will use existing capacity within the Ministry of Agriculture of the country, but is likely to require the following skills areas: "Project Manager "Technical Sub-unit (Production and Marketing) "Technical Sub-unit (Natural Resources Management) "Technical Sub-unit (Community and Institutional Capacity) "Technical Sub-unit (Infrastructure and Community Fund) "Monitoring Evaluation "Administration and Finance "Secretarial services

The PIUs in each country would both be members of a Project Coordination Committee which would have representatives of the ADB, FAO, Angola, Namibia and Botswana and would possibly be hosted by OKACOM. Provision will be made for monitoring and evaluation of the project based on the Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) which will be developed as part of the full project proposal. Intervals at which progress reports will be submitted and project reviews undertaken will be defined.

Proposed Budget

The total investment cost for the project is provisionally estimated at US$66 million over a six year implementation period, with USD37.5 millions for Angola and US$28.5 millions for Namibia.


1.The programme objectives would include: (i.)the achievement, within programme investment areas, of improved water efficiency and utilisation, such as to permit the stabilisation and intensification of production among target populations; (ii.)the strengthened linkage of area farmers and herders into regional marketing systems and the expansion of intraregional trade; (iii.)the expansion of support infrastructure within programme areas; (iv.)the strengthening of local institutional capacities to promote and support these improvements on a long term and sustainable basis; and (v.)the development of region-wide capacities to identify, evaluate and implement approaches to increased food security through improved water management and related activities.


Project Rationale

1.Agriculture being the prime mover of most economies of the region, successful trade, particularly agro-based trade, is potentially the most prominent form of integration within SADC, one of the most important ingredients for sustainable economic development, and a cardinal catalyst for the achievement of national and regional food security. Unfortunately, agricultural performance has, and continues, to be undermined by factors including low adoption of irrigation technology, unsustainable management of water resources, droughts and floods, and high dependence on rainfed agriculture, despite the region's largely untapped irrigation potential. The programme's investments will assist to relax some of the constraints that undermine agricultural performance and food security enhancement in the region. The programme concept is based on the recommendations of the SADC RISDP, which was formulated with extensive popular member states participation and support. The concept also draws from thefindings and proposals of SADC's Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses.

2.A review of SADC's regional agricultural and food situation highlights a picture of recurring fluctuations and import dependency over the past decade that stems from a number of environmental, policy and institutional factors, despite the region's huge physical and natural resource potential. With regard to water use for agriculture, total irrigated land under cultivation in the region is estimated at 2 ,121,000 hectares, against a total arable land of 146,723,000 hectares, although this differs from country to country and agro climatic zones. The rainfall pattern has been very erratic over the past 2-3 decades. Lately, rainfall has been influenced by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, resulting in above average or very low rainfall, which has either caused floods or repeated droughts. The region, therefore, needs to emphasize appropriate land and water management techniques, which must be the basis for sustainable agricultural production.


3.1.Recent efforts to reduce food insecurity within the SADC region have focused heavily on the negative impacts of imperfectly functioning markets, as well as policy and infrastructural obstacles to transboundary movements of food. This approach is based upon the belief that overall food production (availability) within the region is generally adequate for human needs, but that areas of surplus production often do not correspond to areas of demand (access). Reducing food insecurity is therefore a matter of improving access.

3.2.However, while improvements in market functioning are important, they will do little to help those rural poor who are dependent on agriculture for the food they consume, and who have few resources to purchase on the open market when their own production is insufficient (seasonally or under special climatic conditions). Small farmers comprise a significant proportion of the population in most SADC member countries As of 2003, the UN Population Division places rural population within the SADC countries at approximately 130 million, or 55 percent of the total population of 210 million. Not all rural inhabitants will be small farmers, however. and are often among the most food insecure. Given the very limited non-agricultural income generation opportunities in many rural areas, the needs of this group can only be met in the medium term through the stabilisation and expansion of their household agricultural production. Increasing production will not only expand small farmers' immediate food supply, but will provide for surpluses which can generate income for future food purchases and general social and economic development.

3.3.In addition, demand for food within SADC is not constant. Population numbers within SADC mainland member states are forecast to increase by 50 percent by 2030, to more than 315 million people. Unless dependency on international supplies is to expand enormously, this increase will create the need for significantly expanded food production , further supporting the case for production support to agriculture if food insecurity is not to grow.

3.4.It is therefore argued that, despite the importance of improved market and trade functioning, support to production by small farmers has a strong rationale in efforts to improve food security within the SADC region. Such production support activities should probably be undertaken in association with measures targeted at reducing barriers to trade and the movement of agricultural products, either within the SADC programme itself, or in collaboration with other efforts.

3.5.Although in some intensively cultivated areas of the region, factors such as access to land and soil fertility are of importance, across the region as a whole, the availability of sufficient soil moisture is the crucial factor influencing agricultural output levels. As agriculture among small producers is overwhelmingly rainfed, it is both susceptible to climatic shocks and often suffers from insufficient moisture for cultivation during the lengthy dry season. Therefore, any attempt to stabilise and expand agricultural production must deal with agricultural water use and management.


1.The key expected benefit from programme implementation would be a significant long-term reduction in regional food insecurity, both chronic and acute. This reduction would be achieved through increased numbers of producers having access to technologies and practices that enable them to increase the production, marketing and value of their agricultural products and through government policies and procedures that facilitate access to them. 2.Adopted production technologies would draw primarily on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approaches that improved sustainable access to water during deficit periods (from either stored or permanent resources) and from the improved use of existing supplies, through such practices as conservation farming and improved crop selection. They would also include local management and operating practices that increase the efficiency of utilisation of available water resources in a sustainable manner. 3.Nationally, agricultural support services and water management procedures would benefit from both improved knowledge of appropriate resource utilisation methodologies and from an increased ability to respond to changing conditions facing institutions and producers, as a result of the impact of HIV/AIDS, global trade expansion and other factors. 4.Improved monitoring of the links between water access and chronic food insecurity, together with strengthened regional assessment and response to risks associated with lack of water availability, would provide greater awareness of populations at risk and allow improved planning of response activities, as well as disaster mitigation efforts. 5.Linked to changes in water resource access and utilisation would be improved approaches to post-harvest handling and storage of outputs, increased market opportunities derived from more appropriate trade policies and greater private sector involvement in marketing and processing, and approaches that would render it easier for HIV/AIDS-affected and women-headed households to fully participate in value-added and market operations.

The principal groups of beneficiaries targeted within the programme will be: (a)resource poor rainfed farmers and livestock herders vulnerable to food insecurity (b)smallholder farmers in irrigation schemes with poor efficiency, especially emergent farmers (c)market agents and traders (d)female-headed, HIV/AIDS affected and other most vulnerable households

In the mid-zambezi project area, preliminary aspirations are that the Programme will benefit around 20%, or 200,000 peoples, equivalent to approximately 50,000 households. It is anticipated that the Programme will tackle food insecurity amongst 85% of the current food insecure within Chobe District (around 500-1,000 people) of Botswana, amongst 40% of the food insecure within Zambia (around 150,000 people) and around 10% of the food insecure within the core area of Zimbabwe (around 50,000 people).

Key contacts


Estimated Cost

UAC 55,000,000

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