WINDHOEK, March 7 -- For a long time, communal farmer, Nora Mikatazo from the Zambezi region in the northeast of Namibia has been planting the same seed varieties, mainly maize. The consistent planting of the same seeds variety was a tradition passed across generations. "We sowed the same seeds and preserved them as forefathers and generations did," said Mikatazo on Friday. However, despite efforts made to improve, yields either declined or stagnated. Agricultural productivity was also affected by climate variability and unpredictable rainfall patterns. Namibia has been battling with a dry spell over the years. Thwarted by the dwindling prosperity and declining yields, current farming season, Mikatazo decided to try her luck with a new variety of cowpea and groundnut seeds in the current farming season. The shift from an ancient mode of farming to conservation agriculture follows the provision of seeds by the Namibia Red Cross Society. "The aim, is to adopt more climate-resistant seeds and to diversify my household food basket and diversify nutrition at home," said Mikatazo, who also farms with staple crop, maize. The approach has since yielded positive results. "It gives me a sense of security to know that I can depend on more than just one crop harvest time," she said. Another farmer, Rosco Manze, who also adopted the new seeds is prospering. Like other farmers, productivity was also improved through complementary efforts such as the application of conservation methods of tillage and mulching to ensure the minimal use of water. "The aim is to keep the plants alive longer so that I have a good harvest," Manze said. Libalamwe Mayamba, the project coordinator of Namibia Red Cross in the Zambezi region, said that the seeds were sourced through international development aid efforts. According to Mayamba, farmers in the region have been hard hit by climate change over the years, thus experiencing low yields and subsequently, hunger due to a dry spell. More than 289,644 people in Namibia are food insecure due to drought that hard-hit the country's agricultural production and productivity, according to the Namibian Vulnerability Assessment Committee report. "The distribution of cowpea and groundnut seeds responds to the need for diversification of crops, and to ensure that farmers use seeds adaptive to adverse climate conditions. We gave those seeds to help them to maximise on the good rainfall received during the 2020 seasons as they did not harvest much in the previous years," Mayamba said. More than 1,000 beneficiaries also received training on agricultural conservation, using minimal water, said Mayamba. In the interim, Mikatazo shares the best practice with other farmers in the area to divert from conventional techniques of farming to adopt new seed varieties. This is to ensure a snowball effect and present new dawn for Namibian communal farmers.