Conference looks at bio-economy potential

09 October 2019 | Environment

The Hanns Seidel Foundation last week hosted a national conference themed 'The current status of sustainable natural resource management in Namibia and ways to unlock its bio-economy potential'.

Speakers at the conference included Professor Gilbert Mbaka Nduru form the Karatina University in Kenya, Dr Miguel Carrillo from the University of Murcia, Spain, Dr Louise Lange from the Environment Centre in the United Kingdom, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta and many more.

The executive manager of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU), Roelie Venter, took part in a panel discussion at the conference and said that primary agriculture is one of the keys to get the economy started.

According to Venter, the current drought is one of the worst droughts in the past century and support will be needed to ensure that primary producers recover after the drought is broken.

He said the most important actions are supporting financing models to resist the challenges, as well as reinvestment for herd building and alternative income sources through diversification.

Furthermore Venter said in the long-term, it is necessary to recover the balance between grass and bush on 45 million hectares in order to lessen the impact of climate change.

“If only 10 million hectares is recovered at a cost of approximately N$10 billion, an additional N$1 billion can be added annually to agricultural production which will realise sufficient slaughtering cattle to double the current slaughter numbers at export abattoirs.”

According to Venter, a healthy productive primary agricultural sector creates rural employment opportunities, lessens migration from rural to urban areas and multiplies employment opportunities in the remaining agricultural value chain.