Namibia’s intention to restore its valuable rangelands at a whopping cost of some N$30 billion over the next 20 years is regarded by many observers as a groundbreaking project, which has earned the respect of role players at international podiums.
It is also viewed as an example of a government committed to the rehabilitation of degraded land and water bodies – to be at declining rates of degradation by 2030.
Chief rangeland researcher of the Namibia Rangeland Management Policy and Strategy (NRMPS), Leon Lubbe, updated attendants on the project at the recently held NNFU’s Leadership Seminar in Otjiwarongo.
He said the project was implemented in 2012 and is committed to the promotion and maintenance of the welfare of the people by adopting policies aimed at maintaining ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity, and utilizing living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, according to Act 95 (1) of the constitution.
Some 70 percent of the population is dependent on its rangelands for their well-being. The current poor state of Namibia’s rangelands is due to soil erosion, overgrazing, bush encroachment and a drastic decline of carrying capacity of the land.
This situation negatively Influences the livelihoods of a large portion of the Namibian nation, profitability of livestock farming and the whole economy in general (a possible N$1.4 billion/annum is lost).
It is expected that there will be a 30 percent drop in the production of course grains by 2030 in southern Africa and this highlights the important role of livestock in future.
Lubbe highlighted that measurements need to be taken to achieve the goals of the project, saying all the guiding principles of sound rangeland management will have to be implemented to secure success.
“If this is done, then hopefully the rehabilitation of degraded land and water bodies should be at declining rates by 2030, which means we will be on our way to achieve optimal sustainable production per hectare because we would have improved the nutrient cycle; improved the water cycle; the vulnerability of users to the variable resource base would be reduced because we have in a timely and flexible way adjusted animal numbers to available fodder resources, and in a timely way made provision for drought,” he noted.
He says this will mean biodiversity has been improved “since we have applied correct utilisation of key plants, adequate recovery time for utilised plants, reclamation of denuded rangelands, erosion control, and managing rangelands for heterogeneity rather than for homogeneity”.