Title: Factors affecting subsistence farmers' adoption of sustainable land management practices in Oshikoto Region, Namibia

Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Brita Berglund
sustainable land management practices, Namibia, subsistence farmers, extension services


In Namibia, agriculture employs 30% of the labour force and contributes 7.5% to GDP. More than 60% of the farming is done by subsistence farmers. The sector is facing challenges such as low soil fertility and water shortage. To counter these challenges, sustainable land management practices are needed, but subsistence farmers face constraints in adopting these practices. Hence, this study was conducted to identify what practices the farmers are currently using and what constraints they are facing in adopting sustainable land management practices. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 farmers in the Oshikoto Region. The interviews were recorded, transcribed word for word and thematic analysis applied to the answers. The study showed that the farmers were using some sustainable practices such as manure and mould from termite hills as fertilizer. However, unsustainable practices such as tractor-drawn disk harrows and inorganic fertilizer were also used. The constraints that affect farmers’ adoption of sustainable land management practices include climate characteristics, especially low and unpredictable rainfall; limited farmland size; lack of extension services and institutional support; labour shortages; and lack of finances and other resources. Based on these findings it is recommended that extension delivery to farmers in the study area must be strengthened, that projects combating climate change must be down streamed to subsistence farmers, and that farmers should be encouraged and supported to use ‘easy to adopt’ sustainable practices, e.g. crop rotation and ripping. It is also suggested that long-term weather forecasts should be made available to the farmers through the radio. This could have a significantly positive impact on the environment as well as on subsistence farmers’ situation and household food security.

Documents and links