WINDHOEK, APRIL 8 – Over 30 million hectares of land has been encroached by bushes in Namibia, and as a result, more than half of the country’s prime rangelands have been affected by this phenomenon.
Namibian stakeholders met yesterday to probe how best to alleviate what is seen as a problem, and in the hopes of turning it into a solution.
The Namibian government and stakeholders across the country have set a course for sustainable bush control, and regulations to ensure sustainability of harvesting methods are in place.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has joined hands with Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) to implement the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation project with the aim of promoting encroacher bush-based value chains.
Together with the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS) of the Trier University of APplied Science (Germany), a strategy for Biomass Industrial Parks (BIPs) is being developed.
“The aim of BIPs is to ensure sustainable supply structures – especially for large off-takers such as biomass power plants. By attracting large amounts of biomass, a BIP will reduce unit costs for transport, handling and storage,” said Professor Peter Deck from IfaS.
Project manager at Namibia University of Science and Technology’s Biomass Utilisation by Sustainable Harvest (BUSH) project, Evert Strydom, said over 50 percent of Namibia’s total land mass was affected by bush encroachment, adding “that figure increases by approximately 3.2 percent per annum.”
“Namibia has lost approximately 60 % of its cattle grazing capacity since the 1940’s,” said Strydom.The one day conference brought together Namibian stakeholders, as well as European businesses and potential partners in order to explore investment opportunities for BIPs, prospects for commercial biomass use, as well as national and international marketing opportunities. – additional reporting by email@example.com