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Restoration of bush encroached land is economically beneficial – Shifeta

Restoration of bush encroached land is economically beneficial – Shifeta

Staff Reporter

THE environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, called on farmers, private companies and other stakeholders to seize on the opportunity to restore land that is degraded through bush encroachment, adding that enormous economic benefits exist in the rehabilitation and restoration of bush encroached land.

Shifeta shared this during the official opening of the Biomass Fair Industry Conference, which took place under the theme “Discovering a new decade for biomass”.

The Fair also served as the launch of the National Strategy on the Sustainable Management of Bush Resources (2022 – 2027), which was developed with financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany through the Bush Control and Biomass Utilization (BCBU) Project. The Strategy aims to provide a framework to ensure that bush resources are used sustainably with value added.

According to Shifeta, Namibia faces a number of pressing environmental challenges – chief among these challenges is bush encroachment.
“Bush encroachment involves the replacement of native grasses by encroaching bush species. About 45 million hectares of our grassland savannah are estimated to be affected by bush encroachment. This has severe negative impacts on biodiversity, soils, water availability, the land productivity and the livelihoods of our people, which are largely dependent on the country’s vast natural savannah ecosystem,” he explained.

Despite the severity of the situation, he said that “bush encroachment also offers numerous economic opportunities”. According to him, studies show that enormous economic benefits exist in the rehabilitation and restoration of bush encroached land.

He explained that the bush can be used as a basis for value chains that contribute to improved domestic economic development, add value to export products, create employment and income in rural areas and it can also be an innovation driver for future green technologies.

“We encourage the further development of this sector and the Ministry is committed to ensure the optimal management and use of bush resources to safeguard the sustainability of the resource base and to generate environmental and socio-economic benefits,” he added.

File photo for illustrative purposes only.

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