Study to explore impact of chemicals on the environment
As part of ongoing efforts to sustain and increase beef production in Namibia, the Meat Board has given its approval for a study to be carried out on the impact of widely used arboricides on the environment.
According to Dr Susanne Thalwitzer from the Meat Board, the study will seek to point out any detrimental effects of arboricides on the environment.
The study will also seek for results that will serve as an assurance to local beef consumers that the use of arboricides has no detrimental effect on the environment.
The Meat Board will hire a private consultant to conduct the research. Special attention will be given to studies investigating the chemicals in an environment similar to that of Namibia, Thalwitzer said.
It is envisaged that the study will be of significance and will benefit the Namibian red meat industry and livestock producers in particular, to further ensure a conducive environment for sustainable livestock production, market growth and diversification for livestock.
Meanwhile, several methods have been tested and are still applied to reduce invader bush on farmland, hence the application of arboricides is seen as a very efficient way to combat invader bush.
“Various arboricides are used in Namibia to combat bush encroachment. These arboricides are registered in Namibia and have been intensively tested in other countries for their metabolism in the soil, possible toxicity to plants and animal species and their possible accumulation in soil and groundwater,” the Meat Board stated.
The study will further seek for recommendations of specific research and investigation approaches that can be used to obtain data on the environmental effects of both arboricides effectively and timely, as the Meat Board is outsourcing a desktop study evaluating and analysing Environmental Impact Assessments, Ecological Impact Assessments and similar studies conducted elsewhere in the world of both chemicals with focus on results that are transferable to Namibian conditions.
The study is expected to not take longer than two months.
Currently, the Meat Board assists livestock producers to re-establish grazing land for livestock by selling two kinds of arboricide directly to producers on a cost-recovery basis.
Livestock production is the main activity in Namibia’s agricultural sector, constituting approximately 75% of agricultural income, which represents close to an average of 6% of the gross domestic product. An estimated 70% of the Namibian population depend directly or indirectly on agricultural production and the facilitation of red meat exports to lucrative markets is seen as one major road to achieve poverty reduction, which is one of Namibia’s top priority goals, states the report.