WINDHOEK - In support of the Namibian government’s state of emergency declaration on the current drought crisis, farmers in the northern parts of the country were shown how to diversify their income and sustainably contribute to tackling bush encroachment last week.
Farmers in the areas of Otjetjekua, Amarika, and Okambali grabbed the chance to learn from the De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS) how to ensure more productive use of their land as bush-based animal feed production is a viable option for Namibian farmers, especially in this time of drought.
“We see a big opportunity for our farming community and for land users in this value chain,” says Progress Kashandula, general manager of DAS.
“The organisation has been conducting a series of training across Namibia with a focus on bush encroached regions.
“At last week’s training, farmers learned about key principles of bush to animal feed production and get insights into the practical production process. The use of basic tools, which are readily available on farms, such as pangas and axes, is demonstrated. It is not necessary to procure expensive machinery to produce animal feed.”
“In addition, as part of its capacity development efforts, DAS has launched a capacity
development project focused on bush control, biomass utilisation, and entrepreneurship
targeted at officials working in the bush control and biomass utilisation sector and for
unemployed, young graduates of natural resource management studies. This initiative is
about to be piloted with theoretical and practical training scheduled to take place in July and August in
Okahandja at the Andreas Kukuri Conference Centre and a nearby farm.
Afterward, trainees will be mentored over a number of months so that they can gain hands-on experience in passing the knowledge on,” she notes.
Despite the challenges, it is proven that when done right, animal feed can be a solution to the current drought situation.
A study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the GIZ Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation (BCBU) project and the UNDP Sustainable Management of Namibia’s Forested Land (Nafola) project showed in 2017 that bush-based animal feed production is a viable and promising concept. Results from intensive trials demonstrate that bush feed can be used not only as an emergency drought feed but also as a supplementary feed throughout the year and in feedlots.
Not surprisingly, farmers have expressed great interest across the country. “We have
conducted bush-based animal feed production training in various regions of the country to ensure inclusivity and cater to the different environmental conditions that differ from region to region. We want to support the Namibian government’s state of emergency declaration on the current drought,” Kashandula explains.
To roll out the knowledge effectively, DAS is working with local partners. Trainings in the
Otjozondjupa Region were held in collaboration with the Communal Land Development
Programme, Okamatapati Farmers Association, Okakarara Farmers Association, the
Councillor’s office and other partners. “Involving the local authorities has been key to the
success of this initiative,” Kashandula points out. Cornelius Kanguatjivi, Councillor of
Epukiro Constituency commended the project for involving local communities and local
authorities: “Through such partnerships, people in remote areas such as Epukiro can benefit
from these services. This was an eye-opener and we really appreciate your initiative for
coming to us,” he said.
The trainings are conducted by Dagmar Hὅnsbein, on behalf of the De-bushing Advisory
The De-bushing Advisory Service is a national knowledge broker on bush control and bush
encroachment and works closely with existing agricultural and extension service on
mainstreaming capacity for bush control and biomass utilisation. For more information on
their work, visit their website at www.dasnamibia.org
2019-07-16 10:24:45 | 3 months ago