Shamathe was, however, quick to point out that this climate change drivers and effects are in most cases exacerbated by lack of climate adaptation and mitigation measures such as inappropriate rangeland and livestock management practices; poor livestock marketing infrastructure development and lack of access to financial institutions.
These include overgrazing due to overstocking and continuous grazing (no proper rest and recovery of the perennial grass), unadaptable breeds, poor livestock husbandry and uncontrolled veld fires.
The impact of these climate changes and rangeland degradation is, sadly, severe on the communal farmers living in marginalized rural areas.
In addressing this issue, Shamathe advises farmers and farmers’ support organisations to embark on rehabilitating degraded rangeland.
Good grazing and proactive rangeland management is ideal, but in most cases (especially in Namibian communal areas), rangelands are already degraded to the extent that proactive rangeland management alone is insufficient to restore degraded rangeland within an acceptable time frame, necessitating the need for active rangeland rehabilitation measures..
At the same time, farmers should practice adaptive rangeland and livestock management.
Shamathe referred to principles of sound rangeland management as per National Rangeland Management Policy & Strategy (NRMPS), adding that the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) has now produced a National Rangeland Manual for non-title deeds which Meatco Foundation, o’ Seu Oningandu Investment and AgriProvision was contracted to develop.
This available tool is used in capacitating farmers.
He concluded that improved rangeland and livestock management alone will not work without livestock marketing as increased livestock numbers due to available grass will eventually surpass the carrying capacity of the rangeland leading to degradation.
Furthermore, farmers will be discouraged to practice good rangeland and livestock management if there are no income benefits derived from the effort of managing the grass and livestock.
He said this indicates that the way forward is value chain production.
(Photo: Bertus Kruger)