WINDHOEK - Practical guidelines on how to produce fodder for both large and small stock using indigenous encroacher bush species as a key ingredient was launched at the 22nd Rangeland Forum last Friday in Otjiwarongo.
If animal fodder can be produced locally from encroacher bush, this has transformational potential for farmers in Namibia. Farms become more drought resilient, productive rangeland is restored through bush thinning and billions are saved in reduced animal fodder imports. The manual outlines the great potential for bush-based animal fodder value chain in Namibia, both for commercial enterprises as well as in community-based settings. More so, the value chain is an opportunity to combat bush encroachment, especially when pursued in combination with other value chains such as charcoal, firewood and biochar. Bush based animal feed thus creates a true win-win situation: it is an immediate remedy in times of fodder shortage and it contributes to rangeland improvement in the long-run.
With successful cattle and sheep feeding trials in three different environments – the conservancy area of African Wild Dog at Okondjatu; the government farm Omatjene and a commercial farm near Dordabis, the results clearly demonstrate that the tested approach is relevant for a broad spectrum of farmers, director of Forestry, Joseph Hailwa, stated. He further lauded the involvement of stakeholders for the successful research trials noting the significant contribution of research to policies such as Growth at Home, Drought and the National Rangeland Management and Strategy in view of the bush encroachment challenge. The research has shown that it is possible to produce animal fodder locally, using leaves and branches of encroacher bush species in combination with available supplements. The extensive research has shown that such production is not only economically viable, but also free of health related risks for the animals if applied correctly. Not only have the trial animals maintained their weight, but they have also shown significant growth rates.
Hailwa concluded by urging participants at the Forum to identify strategies to commercialise the livestock industry. Firstly through improved grass production, and secondly through bush-based fodder production in Namibia. This is to make farmers more profitable, whilst producing inputs locally for Namibian markets at a competitive rate to reduce the high dependency on imports.
Detailed information as well as the publications are available at the De-bushing Advisory Service (www.dasnamibia.org). The non-profit advisory service has piloted a first animal feed production training in September and will invite for further trainings in 2019.
2018-12-04 10:06:23 9 months ago