Ogongo-A major conference on agriculture and natural resources took place at the University of Namibia’s Ogongo Campus, where academics, scientists, political and traditional leaders and other stakeholders met on Monday and Tuesday this week.
The conference‘s central theme was ‘Resilience Of Livelihoods In A Changing Climate In Sub-Saharan Africa’ and sought to highlight approaches that would ensure farmers remain productive, despite the challenges presented by adverse climate conditions.
In a speech read on his behalf, Unam Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula said the conference should allow scientist to take stock of scientific advancements in the agricultural and natural resources sectors and that the conference should serve as a forum to discuss strategies to mitigate the challenges posed by a varying and changing climate.
“The success of any strategies in dealing with such challenges would not be possible without concerted efforts and collaboration from various scientific and international bodies,” Hangula said.
He further said that the university was working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry towards a Fodder Production and Promotion Project to select the best varieties of the crops, such as lucerne, and to develop production strategies for various other tyopes of fodder.
He said recurring seasonal deaths of ruminant livestock in northern Namibia and the expensive feeding costs are outdated.
Officially opening the conference, Minister John Mutorwa said research and innovation are important to finding practical solutions to most of the challenges faced by the country. He said water harvesting conservation and availability are and will always remain critical.
“Water harvesting and dam excavations efforts are therefore key to ensuring water security. The efforts include the construction of the big Neckartal Dam in the //Kharas Region and several earth dams around the country, especially on communal land,” he explained.
He said government had put concerted efforts into extending water pipelines and canals to increase access to potable water for household use, irrigation purposes and commercial industrial use.
“Solutions to productivity and improving resilience come through research. Research and innovation cannot be done in isolation, but need a holistic approach that encompasses all stakeholders, including farmers, environmentalists, policy makers, entrepreneurs and many others,” the minister said.