Namibia Helps Somalia Turn Plant Into Feed

A NAMIBIAN organisation providing farmers information on sustainable bush control and biomass use on their farms, is helping Somalia turn the prosopis plant into animal feed.

A team from the GIZ-funded De-bushing Advisory Services (DAS) recently travelled to Somalia where they made a presentation on sustainable bush control approaches and experiences in Namibia and provided technical advice in finding the potential use of prosopis as alternative animal fodder.

According to a statement issued by DAS's Cathrine Amutenya, the team was in Somalia from 21 September to 1 October 2019 where it did a presentation on bush control approaches in Namibia and gave technical advice. The DAS team also attended a workshop on prosopis, held on 28 September.

"The discussions has forged a new path in dealing with the issues. With the Somali community acknowledging the potential of prosopis, DAS will continue to share its knowledge to help the country move forward," said DAS.

Through local animal feed training, DAS is now attracting the attention of other countries in Africa seeking to alternative opportunities for fodder.

In the face of drought which has resulted in little or no grass for livestock and the manifestation of bushes which thrive in such an environment, DAS, with the support of the Namibian government, conducts training across the country to assist livestock producers to utilise the bush resources for animal feed. It also connects farmers with service providers such as equipment supplies and financial institutions.

"Farmers can diversify their income and contribute to tackling bush encroachment.

They can ensure a more productive use of their land. We see a big opportunity for our farming community and for land users in this value chain,"said DAS's general manager, Progress Kashandula.

DAS said Somalia's region of Saaxil is affected by invasive species called Prosopis juliflora which jeopardise the productivity of agricultural land, space, irrigation systems, the course of permanent or temporary rivers and the indigenous plant biodiversity.

At the end of 2016, they started an assessment of opportunities on how to use prosopis in the country with limited natural resources.

"This shows that drought is not only rife in Namibia," said Kashandula.

DAS is a national information platform and focal point for all bush encroachment-related topics as well as a capacity building hub in the emerging biomass industry.

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