Bush encroachment severely degrades rangelands and hampers agricultural productivity.
Moreover, bush encroachment has negative impacts on livestock, groundwater recharge, tourism and biodiversity, says the general manager of the Namibian Biomass Industry Group (N-BIG), Progress Kashandula.
Speaking at last week’s 20th National Rangeland Forum Kashandula noted that the existing extension services currently active within Namibia offer general advice on animal production and sustainable rangeland management practices to farmers, but do not offer specialised advice on bush control or encroacher bush utilisation and value addition opportunities.
“A survey addressing farmers’ needs pertaining to de-bushing and value addition opportunities was carried out in 2015 and the results clearly identified the need for de-bushing and bush utilisation services in Namibia. This identified service and knowledge gap resulted in the establishment of the Debushing Advisory Service (DAS) in late 2015.
“DAS is an important capacity-building aspect of the GIZ Support to De-bushing Project, which addresses the knowledge and information needs of farmers who are interested in bush control on their farmlands. DAS also connects with operators of and investors in bush biomass processing machinery and plants. DAS will ensure the sustainability and continuity of debushing activities beyond the lifespan of the Support to De-bushing Project,” he observed.
He says N-BIG’s aim is to support Namibian actors and development partners to turn the widespread challenge of bush encroachment into socio-economic opportunities, thereby increasing rangeland productivity and supporting an emerging biomass industry. “Our work is closely linked to existing agricultural, forestry and environmental advisory and extension services, both public and private, leveraging synergies where applicable,” he emphasised.
To find out more about what DAS offers, contact Progress Kashandula at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel (+264) 61 42 256, (+264) 81-166 02 or visit the website: www.dasnamibia.org.