Policies needed to protect rural grazing

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Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro

Windhoek-Communities need policy support frameworks to ensure the protection of grazing – and there is also a need for the introduction of policies on grazing tax and animal quantity in non-title deed areas to conserve rangelands, say Vetuundjua Kazapua and Stanley Njembo.

They presented a paper reviewing the objectives, and assessing the status and implementation, of the National Rangeland Management Policy and Strategies to a recent National Rangeland and Bush Encroachment Forum.
They further recommend the identification or establishment of courts to support cases against transgressors.

In terms of supporting and strengthening the allocation and clearing of fire cutlines and breaks to reduce the impact of veld fires on rangelands, they recommend that traditional authorities be made aware of rangeland issues.
Also that collective and inclusive consultation be encouraged and implemented with relevant stakeholders and authorities and that workshops be held for all traditional authorities recognised or not, on rangeland management principles and strategies to have their buy-in and support.

To create the necessary awareness Kazapua and Njembo recommend that platforms like the media sensitise and create awareness among farmers on rangeland management.

Management principles must be translated in all indigenous languages and areas must be identified in each region to serve as pilot of good rangeland practices, according to them.

In this regard the government must be sensitive and strategic in creating demonstration plots belonging to it, lest such plots become abandoned when funding stops or dries up.

Individual farmers must be identified to manage ranges through de-bushing, thinning and the control of ranges, and making these demo plots, and by supporting intervention.

To create the necessary human-wildlife balance, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism must be engaged in the draft of wildlife destocking strategies based on carrying capacity, they say.

Quota systems similar to those in the drought period must be applied to reduce livestock. But such livestock reduction strategy must go parallel with penalties for farmers not reducing their livestock, they add.
Conservancies and community forestry establishments must be transparent and involve the majority of farmers and communities. Leaders of all traditional authorities, recognised or not, must be consulted because of their subjects living on lands. Plans and systems must be tailored towards specific areas to fit in with them.

The National Rangeland Management Policy and Strategies for communal areas strive at improving animal production per hectare and ensuring that users are less vulnerable to the high variability in the base of resources, that users are more aware of the current situation of the environment and that biodiversity is improved.

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