Germany supports sustainable bush biomass use – donating over N$2 million for equipment and vehicles
The German government donated over N$2 million for IT office equipment and vehicles to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s – Directorate of Forestry, as well as the University of Namibia to be used for the promotion of bush control and sustainable biomass use in Namibia.
The donation includes three vehicles intended to strengthen monitoring and law enforcement capacities of the forestry authority in selected priority regions. In these regions, which are among the most severely affected by bush encroachment, the offices of the Directorate of Forestry are further equipped with computers and stationaries.
The equipment support enables the Directorate to effectively implement an ongoing re-engineering process, which among others includes the digitalisation of its service delivery. The Directorate will increasingly rely on satellite images and aerial photos for farm inspections and will pilot a digital system for harvesting permit applications. This is meant to reduce the cost and turnaround time of the Directorate’s permitting process and in turn increase its reliability and efficiency.
As part of the handover, the University of Namibia’s Department of Animal Science, received a laboratory incubator for analyses of bush-based animal fodder samples. Due to the continuing drought, hundreds of farmers have resorted to producing bush-based emergency fodder in 2019. Dedicated laboratory capacities shall help to improve the quality of the respective feed mixtures.
The German Ambassador to Namibia, Herbert Beck said the Federal Republic of Germany has supported the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry through various programmes; among others in the areas of conservation agriculture, agricultural advisory, and rangeland management.
“As of recent, the German Government has especially strengthened its efforts to foster the drought resilience of the Namibian population. In this context, the utilisation of bush biomass, for example for bush-based animal fodder, plays a vital role,” Beck added.
Joseph Hailwa, the agriculture ministry’s Acting Executive Director and Director of Forestry, stated that the equipment will come in support of two priority areas, namely law enforcement and monitoring of bush harvesting operations, as part of the Directorate’s mandate to effectively regulate forest resource utilisation.
In close collaboration, agriculture ministry and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have implemented the Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project since 2014.