• September 17th, 2019
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Rangelands under serious scrutiny again


WINDHOEK - Pressure is this year mounting  for the government to restore Namibia’s valuable rangelands at a whopping cost of some N$30 billion in accordance with Vision 2030.

The production potential of the Namibian livestock sector is not expected to grow much in the future, and the contribution of Namibian exports of livestock and meat will remain less than 10 percent of total meat consumption in South Africa.

Participants from across professions and organisations will later this year again come together to exchange latest insights around  improving the productivity of the grasslands and livestock in Namibia at the 23rd Namibian Rangeland Forum. Rangelands are in dire need of recovering in a time where the country has to adapt to climate unpredictability and climate change along the whole value chain. Namibia is once again facing very dry spells that has devastated rangelands across the face of the country since 2013. Agricultural production is mostly rain-fed and therefore vulnerable to climate change. 

Namibia is already facing short growing seasons for crops and the decrease in the number of consecutive wet days will shorten the growing season even more. The livestock sector is expected to be especially affected by changes in the quality and quantity of vegetation and availability of fodder while further being affected by heat stress of the animals and the occurrence of climate related diseases. The phenomenon of bush encroachment, which has taken root in Namibia due to poor rangeland management practises, has already had a significant impact on the productivity of Namibia’s rangelands. Increased carbon dioxide levels continue to accelerate climate change, which is expected to increase risk and further increase bush encroachment over time.  

The influence of climate change on the Namibian agricultural sector calls for improved land use practices, like improved rangeland management, minimum tillage and conservation agriculture, and water harvesting.  This situation prompted the government’s adoption of the National Rangeland Management Policy and Strategy (NRMPS) in 2012. The NRMPS contains sound rangeland management principles intending to improve rangeland management. Although the implementation of the NRMPS is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), it clearly stipulates that private sector and other stakeholders should be actively involved in the implementation process to ensure success.  
 


Staff Reporter
2019-01-29 10:15:21 7 months ago

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