Opportunities for encroacher bush

07 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Erastus Ngaruka & Arnoldt //Gaseb

Bush encroachment can be defined as dominant increase in density of woody plant species on a piece of land. These species can dominate in their native habitats or invade other land areas, displacing other plant species, resulting in loss of biodiversity and an imbalanced vegetation type.
There are different woody plant species regarded as encroachers in Namibia. The common ones amongst many include Senegalia mellifera (Black thorn), Dichrostachys cinerea (Sickle bush) and Vachellia reficiens (False umbrella thorn).
The distribution of some of these species in the country is widespread, whereas some are confined to certain areas. Furthermore, these woody plants have different valuable uses. Most of them are valuable as forage resources to livestock, and other socio-economic uses, such as firewood, timber, and medicinal uses amongst others.
Bush encroachment in Namibia has significantly affected a larger area of land, estimated at around 40 million hectares. Evidently, the grazing values of the affected areas are reduced and their carrying capacities are reduced far beyond their abilities to sustain livestock. As a result, livestock productivity is compromised, and it has become more costly to maintain livestock on such farming areas.

Control is critical
Controlling bush encroachment is a critical effort aimed at restoring these grazing areas back to their natural potential to sustain livestock. Bush control is an expensive exercise that needs careful planning. However, besides bush being regarded a threat, it is also an untapped opportunity with enormous collateral benefits to the farmer through the production of wood, charcoal and bush feed.
Charcoal production is gaining momentum in Namibia and for the purpose of diversification it can be one of the secondary activities on a farm.
If well planned, it will contribute to the cash flow of the farm. Information regarding bush control and the utilization thereof can be obtained from institutions such as the Namibia Biomass Industry Group (N-BIG) and the ministry of environment, forestry and tourism.
Bush encroachment and the recurrent drought in Namibia continue to negatively affect forage availability in many grazing areas, forcing farmers to spend a lot of money on livestock feed supplementation.
To lessen this burden, bush can be converted into animal feeds. Many farmers have embarked on bush feed production in the previous drought and have successfully saved their herds.
Bush feed is also a business opportunity for farmers to generate an extra income and to cover the production costs.
Some research work and feeding trials have been done to establish the correct feed formulations and feed rations that are suitable for different animal groups (cattle, sheep and goats) and feeding purposes (production or maintenance feeding).
This information is documented and freely available at N-BIG and the ministry.

Firewood demand
There is consistent demand for firewood in Namibia, especially in urban areas and recreational facilities such as lodges. These include cost cutting by reducing dependency on electricity, a main source of energy in informal settlements, and recreational cooking (e.g. braai) amongst others. Thus, encroaching species can be used as a source of energy at farm level and beyond.
Any farm at any given scale will have costs associated with the resource inputs and operations. These include machinery, transportation, and labour costs. On that, bush control operations require careful financial planning and resource allocation for efficiency and the desired outcome.
Access to finance or credit has been one of the hindering factors for many farmers. However, credit providers such as the Agribank has created that opportunity for farmers to take up loans for purposes of bush control and biomass utilization.
* Erastus Ngaruka is a technical advisor: livestock & rangeland, and Arnoldt //Gaseb is a mentor: Erongo & Kunene regions from the Agribank’s Agri Advisory Services Division.

Similar News

 

Informal residents tackle waste

6 days ago - 24 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • [email protected] an estimated 61 tonnes of human faeces plus household trash dumped in Windhoek’s informal settlement open areas every day, the community on...

Pandemic puts pressure on nature conservation

1 week ago - 22 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Steffi BalzarThe German Organisation for International Cooperation (GIZ) granted financial support to 25 conservancies since May, as part of the project for community-based...

Hungry lions help to clean up

1 week ago - 21 September 2020 | Environment

More than 4 000 Hungry Lion staff members, including those in Windhoek took part in World Clean-Up Day, which was celebrated on Saturday. All over...

International accolade for EIF

2 weeks ago - 16 September 2020 | Environment

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) received a certificate of merit for outstanding Sustainable Project Financing at the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards, recognising its...

Ozone for life!

2 weeks ago - 16 September 2020 | Environment

Namibia, along with the rest of the world, celebrates 35 years of the Vienna Convention and 35 years of global ozone layer protection today.In a...

International support for San

3 weeks ago - 07 September 2020 | Environment

The impact of Covid-19 on Namibia’s economy is considerable. However, the impact on many poor rural communities, in particular communal conservancies, could be even greater...

Don’t dump oil in City sewers

1 month - 27 August 2020 | Environment

The City of Windhoek (CoW) said that it has noticed an increase in the unsafe disposal of used motor oil, mainly due to increased backyard...

Fluit, fluit – Namibiese dolfyne laat van hulle hoor

1 month - 27 August 2020 | Environment

'n Internasionale span wetenskaplikes het daarin geslaag om met behulp van die eiesoortige fluitgeluide van bottelneusdolfyne, die grootte van hul bevolking te bepaal én hul...

Keeping fire at bay

1 month - 25 August 2020 | Environment

It has been a devastating year for conservancies that are largely dependent on tourism and trophy hunting for an income. Global travel bans and quarantine...

Robbe soog kalfies tot volwassenheid

1 month - 13 August 2020 | Environment

Sommige Kaapse pelsrob-ma’s kan hulle kalfies vir veel langer soog as wat voorheen aanvaar is, en daardeur waarskynlik hul afstammeling se kans op oorlewing vergroot....

Latest News

PEPFAR assistance to Namibia continues

8 hours ago | Health

US Ambassador Lisa Johnson announced that the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will contribute U$89 million to Namibia in 2021 to fight...

Windhoek Gym launches online school...

8 hours ago | Education

Windhoek Gymnasium announced that as from January next year, they will offer a flexible yet structured online school for grade 4 to 12 learners across...

Improved primary healthcare thanks to...

9 hours ago | Society

The OmniCare Trust Mobile Clinic recently received a sponsorship of more than N$1.2 million from FirstRand Namibia’s Health Optimisation Pandemic Emergency (HOPE) fund that will...

UNICEF calls for the reopening...

9 hours ago | Education

Windhoek • Steffi BalzarAccording to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), safe school reopenings won’t only reduce escalating costs for all those involved, but also prevent...

DHPS hosts virtual Careers Day

10 hours ago | Education

What can I study where, which occupations are right for me and how exactly does vocational training work?Study and career guidance is becoming more important...

Rashaad and Matias take the...

1 day - 29 September 2020 | Sports

The Namibian Electronic Sports Association (NESA) hosted the very exciting final round of the eFootball PES & Tekken National Tournament of 2020 last weekend. Competition...

Omboga powdered spinach soup hits...

1 day - 29 September 2020 | Business

The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) celebrated the culmination of its support to 2018 Innovation Award winner, VNA Foods, at the launch of the fledgling...

Erindi goes global

2 days ago - 28 September 2020 | Life Style

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel Not one, but two couples fell in love with the Erindi nature reserve during their travels to Namibia, so much so...

Schools MTB league off to...

2 days ago - 28 September 2020 | Sports

The 2020 FNB Schools Mountain Bike League resumed on 25 September at the IJG trails in the capital.The league is aimed at creating excitement for...

Load More