NO GRASS, NO BUCKS!
NO GRASS, NO BUCKS!
Published: 01 Mar 2016
Agra ProVision started off with its bi-monthly breakfast meetings last week Friday in Rundu, under the theme “Rangeland Management – no grass, no bucks.” Namibia’s degrading rangelands have come into the spotlight again recently, and this event is one of the interventions geared towards creating awareness on how to restore and manage the resources that Mother Nature has provided for us. The interactive event attracted more than 100 farmers from the Kavango East and West region.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Dr Samuel Mbambo, Governor of Kavango East region noted that rangeland management is no longer a ‘nice to do’ practice, but it should be a command that every farmer needs to abide to, because our rangelands are currently under immense pressure. “Our rangelands are degrading on a daily basis because all livelihoods depend on rangeland resources. Livestock derive most of their nutritional needs cheaply from the rangelands and humans get food, medicine, fuel and construction materials amongst other from the same rangeland. As a result, the grazing and browsing resources get depleted, providing less of the livestock’s’ nutritional demands,” Dr Mbambo said. He concluded by saying, “This event in particular complements government’s efforts and the Rangeland Management policy and strategy in its drive to restore Namibia’s rangelands. The restoration of rangelands will have a direct effect on poverty alleviation of vulnerable groups in Namibia.”
Bertus Kruger, Agra ProVision’s Technical Advisor for Rangeland Management gave a presentation focusing on the economic value of grass, growing more and better grass, converting grass to meat efficiently and measuring progress. Kruger began by asking the participants, “Can you make more money out of better rangelands?” The answer is yes, he confirmed. He informed the symposium that livestock farming can only be sustainable if there is grass/browse resources. “Grass is the foundation of livestock farming. In any setup, for example the construction industry, you have to make sure that the foundation of the structure is solid. If the foundation is not strong, unfortunately the structure will also not last. The same principle applies in livestock production,” he said at the beginning of his presentation.
Kruger reminded the farmers that the main purpose of livestock farming is to successfully convert forage/grass into meat and milk, thereby generating income for wealth creation in our communities. He gave different techniques and scenarios on how rangeland productivity can be optimised and aligned to farm financial performance. In his concluding remarks, Kruger said: “It is possible for farmers to improve their rangelands, by preparing their seedbed in the dry season, giving sufficient time for grazed plants to recover and measuring the progress of their interventions. If you don’t measure, you won’t know.”
After the presentations, time was allowed for questions and discussions. During the discussions, participants shared their experiences while acknowledging challenges encountered, such as climatic conditions, scarcity of grazing resources and marketing platforms. Practical strategies on how to overcome the challenges were also discussed.
Agra ProVision offers interactive information sessions every second month to facilitate networking and brainstorming among stakeholders and individuals on topics relevant to the agricultural industry. These sessions are open to members of the public, subject to advance confirmation of attendance.