WINDHOEK – The German government last week donated vehicles and IT office equipment all worth N$2 million to the Namibian government.
The donation was made by Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which forms part of a wider cooperation between the two governments in the promotion of bush control and sustainable biomass use in Namibia.
In close collaboration, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and GIZ have implemented the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation (BCBU) Project since 2014.
The donation included three vehicles intended to strengthen monitoring and law enforcement capacities of the forestry authority in selected priority regions.
In regions most severely affected by bush encroachment, the offices of the directorate of forestry were further equipped with computers and stationery.
In an effort to strengthen support services for the vibrant bush biomass sector in Namibia, further donations are made to selected partner institutions.
As part of the handover, the University of Namibia (Unam) Department of Animal Science received a laboratory incubator for analyses of bush-based animal fodder samples.
Due to the continuing drought, hundreds of farmers resorted to producing bush-based emergency fodder in 2019.
Dedicated laboratory capacities would help to improve the quality of the respective feed mixtures. In the same vein, the Directorate of Agricultural Research and Development (DARD) of MAWF is set to receive laboratory equipment.
DARD already offers testing of biomass samples to the public and will strengthen this service with the new analytical equipment.
Speaking at the handing over of the donation, German Ambassador to Namibia, Herbert Beck, said: “Namibia and Germany enjoy a long-standing history of cooperation. This handover affirms the mutual dedication to address developmental challenges, stimulating sustainable and equitable growth, creating jobs and providing equal opportunities.”
He said his government has supported the MAWF through various programmes, among others in the areas of conservation agriculture, agricultural advisory and rangeland management.
As of recent, he said, the German government has especially strengthened its efforts to foster the drought resilience of the Namibian population. “In this context, the utilisation of bush biomass, for example for bush-based animal fodder, plays a vital role.”
Also, speaking at the same occasion, GIZ Country Director Thomas Kirsch highlighted the close cooperation with the MAWF, which he said serves as custodian of the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project.
According to Kirsch “more than 30 million hectares of rangeland are affected by bush encroachment in Namibia, which is more than two thirds of the country”.
He elaborated that a key achievement of the project has been that “bush is no longer seen as a problem, but as an opportunity.” The sustainable use of bush biomass creates, economic potential along various biomass value chains. Today, thanks to professional industry structures and accelerated by the ongoing drought, the biomass utilisation sector employs some 10,000 workers. Growth at Home is achieved in value chains, such as charcoal, animal fodder, biochar and energy production.
On his part, acting executive director and director of forestry, Joseph Hailwa, said that the equipment will come in support of two priority areas, namely law enforcement and monitoring of bush harvesting operations, as part of the directorate’s mandate to effectively regulate forest resource utilisation.
“The vehicles will be used to carry out timely farm and site inspection where harvesting and processing of bush biomass is done, to ensure that correct procedures are followed,” he said.
2020-01-23 07:37:11 | 29 days ago