Namibian photograph wins international award

ABS compliant bio-trade in South(ern) Africa (ABioSA) & BioInnovation Africa II

Winning photograph of the International Year of Millets 2023 Photo Contest

A photograph of a Mahangu (Pearl Millet) harvester in northern Namibia has won first prize in an international photographic competition organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The competition was part of the FAO’s International Year of Millets, which raised awareness of the nutritional benefits of millets, including Mahangu, and their cultivation under changing climate conditions.

The picture, taken in May 2021 by Jonathon Rees, shows Maria Nakumbwata harvesting Mahangu at her homestead in Okahanya village in the Oshikoto Region. Mahangu is a staple food for more than half of all Namibians, and is well adapted to low rainfall and soil conditions in the country’s north-central regions. It plays a significant role in ensuring food security in rural communities.

The global photo contest was open to professional and amateur photographers and received more than 800 entries from more than 50 countries. The winning picture was selected by an international jury of photographers, photo editors, agronomists and communication specialists.

Jonathon worked as a journalist in Namibia in the 1990s and now runs the specialist communication agency Proof Africa. He took the winning photograph on assignment with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for the BioInnovation Africa (BIA) project, executed on behalf of the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) and funded by the German Government.

The BIA project collaborates with the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative in northern Namibia, where the field work took place. Eudafano works with a network of women harvesters of the Marula fruit, which is an important commodity for local communities used to produce a high-quality oil for export. BIA has produced a short film about the Marula harvest and its biotrade value chain.

On behalf of the German Government, GIZ has been working together with the Namibian Government since 1990 with the aim to improve livelihoods for rural communities. Projects include biotrade and biodiversity, rural development, environment and climate change and sustainable infrastructure.


January 2024



Jonathon Rees



GIZ in Namibia