Unlocking bush feed potential

Extensive research is needed to unlock the potential of turning invader bush into fodder, says the Namibia Agricultural Union.

05 August 2020 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says although the potential for bush feed in Namibia exists, more rigorous and extensive research needs to be the priority to unlock the potential in the bush-to-feed value chain.

The NAU recently participated in a discussion with the De-Bushing Advisory Services (DAS) on the potential of bush feed.

The participants identified three main priority areas to ensure sustainable bush feed production.

These are research coupled with an innovative approach, financial support as well as the formulation of appropriate product requirements and standards.



Coordinated effort

According to the NAU, this will require a coordinated effort by all stakeholders. The union said that DAS, in collaboration with the University of Namibia (Unam) and the agriculture ministry, among others, have started developing a digital feed formula application.

“This app is intended to offer the livestock industry a valuable nutrition tool that aids in creating safe, well-balanced and cost-effective rations, especially with bush feed.”

A national workshop for further discussions is scheduled for October, where a leader amongst the different institutions will be identified, which will have the mandate to drive the implementation of the findings and recommendations from stakeholder engagements.



Economic viability

The NAU said research should look at how bush feed can be made economically viable for farmers, what the optimum inclusion levels of the different raw materials are to bear desirable results and how dense the stands of bush need to be to supply sufficient material for various animal species.

It should also look at digestibility testing on various bush species and feedlot testing of various feed ratios as well as the potential growth of animals.

“The NAU is of the opinion that such research will underline the feasibility of bush feed in Namibia, and pave the way for commercial marketing.”

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