For Immediate Release 15 December, 2021
MAWLR and UNDP Namibia Introduce Innovative e-Voucher Agriculture and Food Granting Solution for Resilience and Food Security to Recover from Covid-19 and Related Shocks.
Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia, and their partners - the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) and NEC XON Systems Namibia (Pty) Ltd., introduced Namibia’s first a digital agriculture granting (e-voucher) system on Tuesday 30 November 2021.
The e-voucher granting system is an electronic payment method will be operated through a system that requires almost non-internet conditions. This innovative e-voucher system is being implemented to issue grants to small scale farmers in four regions (Erongo, Kavango East, Khomas and Hardap). The focus of this digital solution is to empower the vulnerable, including the youth, women and people living with disabilities, to scale up their food and agriculture solutions.
Beneficiaries of this e-voucher granting facility will be selected through a rigorous process established by the MAWLR and the local councils of the respective regions, who are closely involved in the implementation. Each of the four regions have highlighted critical priorities for the agriculture value chain, thus ensuring that the reach of this agriculture and food grant is intensive and accurately targeted at the poor and vulnerable.
In the past, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has distributed emergency relief subsistence grants to farmers across the country through paper-based vouchers. This system presented several challenges, including the availability of real-time data for decision making, information on beneficiaries and traceability. Implementing this e-voucher system will generate data and evidence to strengthen institutional capacities for improved accountability and increased efficiencies in grant management. Through data collected, the digital grant and subsidy issuing system would also serve as a monitoring tool to demonstrate the equitable distribution of grants to the intended beneficiaries. This will also strengthen decision making at the national level, especially on the impact of interventions.
An additional output of the BBB project is to strengthen the structures, capacity and skills of the respective municipalities to enable them become food self-sufficient to cope with the immediate impacts of COVID and to handle such shocks in the future.
To test the effectiveness and usability of the recently launched e-voucher system, a pilot execution is currently being implemented through the Build Back Better Urban Agriculture project. The BBB urban agriculture project responds to the current socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Namibia by focusing on enhancing food security and malnutrition in urban and peri-urban communities in Namibia. The BBB urban agriculture project is funded by the Government of Japan and jointly implemented by MAWLR and UNDP Namibia with close collaboration with the respective regional councils in Erongo, Hardap, Kavango East and Khomas).
Beneficiaries will be carefully selected to ensure that the intended target of women and youth aged between (19 and 59 years) and persons living with disabilities have been included. A call for proposal submission for the grant has already commenced, which details eligibility, criteria and conditions for application. Eligibility conditions include the fact that applicants should be Namibian citizens residing within the boundaries of one of the participating municipalities & town councils (Windhoek, Swakopmund, Maltahöhe and Rundu).
The e-voucher granting system and the process flow for disbursement has been agreed upon by the project steering committee, which is an inclusive body of all project stakeholders and partners. As implementing partner, UNDP will issue a grant through EIF, after which EIF will disburse the grants through the e-voucher system. Cards for the e-voucher system will be issued to project beneficiaries, who can then use them to procure needed agricultural supplies at selected agri-outlets, which have been identified as execution partners within all four regions. Representatives of these outlets have also received training on administering the e-voucher system to ensure seamless process implementation.
The execution of this e-voucher grant disbursal system will expand access to informal vendors, small-scale producers, and farmers in urban and peri-urban to catalyze inclusive economic development. This innovative agriculture and food e-voucher granting solution holds the potential to unlock opportunities to enable a sustainable recovery from emergencies and disease-related shocks.