The debushing advisory service (DAS) recently launched a bush control manual at the national rangeland and bush encroachment forum in Windhoek.
The general manager of the debushing advisory service, Progress Kashandula, said their objective is to increase knowledge and understanding of bush encroachment, sustainable bush control and biomass utilisation, enhance sector capacities to upscale bush control efforts and programmes, and support government along the value chain with the implementation of sustainable bush control measures.
Kashandula said DAS' contributions towards the national rangeland management policy and strategy (NRMPS) is capacity- building, which facilitates advice on bush encroachment and bush control, the development of training materials and tools, and integration into existing advisory and training programmes.
He said other contributions are the dissemination of information and experiences of best practices on bush control efforts to ensure control efforts; ensure functional linkages between farmers, financiers and de-bush service providers; advise on economical and environmental sustainable bush control; and monitor and report on bush encroachment, bush control and biomass utilisation.
The way forward will be to increase and strengthen collaboration with existing advisory and extension services; and the integration of DAS work packages into rangeland advisory committee working groups, he said.
Deputy agriculture minister Anna Shiweda officially opened the forum, and said in order to improve the rangeland, farmers must rest their grazing land to allow it to recover.
She advised that farmers should keep a reasonable number of livestock in a given area for a given period, and reduce livestock to the allowed number as per the carrying capacity of the rangeland.
Shiweda said in events like these, interested groups and rangeland scientists and farmers should share facts and ideas on rangeland degradation in the country, its causes and impacts on the environment and the economy, discuss problems in applying rangeland science to improve rangeland conditions, as well as discuss the role of rangeland scientists and their approach to enhancing rangeland science in all parts of the country.
"We expect rangeland scientists to provide valuable inputs and direction on issues of rangeland degradation, provide guidance in methods and realistic opportunities for rangeland improvement to local users, government, and development organisations, and work to provide pastoralists with adaptive management skills in variable ecosystems," she stated.
In addition, she called on farmers' unions to educate their members on the importance of rangeland management, and what is required to save rangelands.