Local Economy Can’t Escape Climate Change

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By Irene !Hoaes

WINDHOEK

Unam economists say whether or not people believe in climate change or climate variability, the phenomenon definitely has an impact on the country’s economy.

Dr Omu Kakujaha during his presentation on the national debate on climate change and global warming last week said climate change and climate variability put great stress on all economic sectors, especially the primary sector on which Namibian economics is so much dependent.
These are the agriculture and fishing sectors.

He said that these environmental changes definitely compromise the country’s national development goals and Vision 2030.

Kakuhaja said the sector mostly affected by these changes is agriculture, on which about 70 percent of Namibians are dependent for their livelihood.
The economist said there are wide fluctuations in the primary sectors such as the agricultural sector, which is dependent on rain.

He said that during 2002, the primary sector grew to 12 percent and then dropped below one percent during the following year when there was no rain or little rain, an indication of how these sectors are affected by climatic conditions.

“Late rains are seriously impacting on planting, thus climatic change definitely has an impact on the economic sectors,” Kakuhaja noted.
Kakuhaja noted that such conditions cause severe hardships, retrenchments and also impacts on the GDP growth of the country.

The economist suggests that water conservation methods be put in place, while indigenous livestock breeding be promoted.

Other methods of adaptation during these times, Kakuhaja said, include crop variation, introducing new varieties and fast maturing crops, as well as increased market access and skills diversification.

He added that improved forecasting and market information are also vital in responding to these new challenges as well as an improved emergency response.
“REMU and EMU, are they ready to respond to imminent crises? I am not sure of that,” the academic added.

Kakuhaja said climate change is definitely an additional stressor and thus readiness is important to buffer against the phenomenon.

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