Namibia: Mbambo concerned about deteriorating rangelands | Land Portal
Language of the news reported: 
English

By: New Era Staff Reporter
Date: March 2nd 2016
Source: New Era

Windhoek- Rangeland management is no longer a ‘nice to do’ practice, but should be a command that every farmer abide by, because our rangelands are under immense pressure, says Governor of Kavango East Region Dr Samuel Mbambo.

He made the comment when he acted as keynote speaker at Agra ProVision’s bi-monthly breakfast meeting in Rundu on Friday, held under the theme ‘Rangeland Management – no grass, no bucks’.

Mbambo said Namibia’s degrading rangelands have come into the spotlight again recently and this event was one of the interventions aimed at creating awareness about ways to restore and manage the resources that Mother Nature has provided.

The interactive event attracted more than 100 farmers from the Kavango East and West regions.

“Our rangelands are degrading on a daily basis, because all livelihoods depend on rangeland resources. Livestock derive most of their nutritional needs cheaply from the rangelands and humans get food, medicine, fuel and construction materials, amongst others, from the same rangeland. As a result, the grazing and browsing resources get depleted, providing less of the livestock’s’ nutritional demands,” Dr Mbambo said.

He concluded by saying: “This event in particular complements government’s efforts and the rangeland management policy and strategy in its drive to restore Namibia’s rangelands. The restoration of rangelands will have a direct effect on poverty alleviation of vulnerable groups in Namibia.”

Agra ProVision’s technical advisor for rangeland management Bertus Kruger gave a presentation on the economic value of grass, growing more and better grass, converting grass to meat efficiently and measuring progress. Kruger began by asking the participants: “Can you make more money out of better rangelands?” The answer is yes, he confirmed and told the symposium livestock farming could only be sustainable if there is grass/browsing resources.

“Grass is the foundation of livestock farming. In any setup, for example the construction industry, you have to make sure the foundation of the structure is solid. If the foundation is not strong, unfortunately the structure will also not last. The same principle applies to livestock production.”

Kruger reminded farmers that the main purpose of livestock farming is to convert forage/grass into meat and milk, thus generating income. He discussed different techniques and scenarios on how rangeland productivity can be optimised and aligned to improve farms’ financial performance.

In conclusion, he said: “It is possible for farmers to improve their rangelands by preparing their seedbed in the dry season, by giving sufficient time for grazed plants to recover and by measuring the progress of their interventions. If you don’t measure, you won’t know.”

During the discussions that followed, participants asked questions and shared experiences while acknowledging the challenges encountered, such as climatic conditions, scarcity of grazing resources and marketing platforms. Practical strategies on how to overcome the challenges were also discussed.

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Photo source: Julie Laurent  via Flickr/Creative Commons (CC By-NC-ND 2.0). Photo: © Julie Laurent

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