The Biomass and Technology Expo took place on Friday, at Otjiwa Safari Lodge, 40 kilometres outside Otjiwarongo and attracted over 50 exhibitors and hundreds of visitors, mainly established and emerging farmers. Standard Bank was the main sponsor of the Expo.
Since farming is the main source of livelihood for over 60 to 70% of Namibians, Mungunda said it was important to strengthen and increase the productivity of farmland, which could lead to improved livelihoods, and reduction of poverty in rural areas.
“Having events like this one helps to make sure that, as a country, we have an opportunity to look into the technology that can be made available for better utilization and harvesting but also processing and value addition of what we have.”
He added: “As Standard Bank we also believe that, as a financier, it is important to engage clients in our communities in our country with regard to the whole value chain, to understand their needs, to understand their requirements and also what can be done to improve the production across the whole value chain.”
In view of the debilitating drought situation in the country, Mungunda said it was pleasing to note that some farmers have branched into other productive avenues such as charcoal harvesting.
“The diversification from livestock farming helps farming communities not only to deal with the drought that we are experiencing but also to generate additional income for themselves and for the country.”
Mungunda also welcomed recent policy announcements by government regarding the registration of bush feed (also known as bush fodder or boskos) as animal feed and harvesting of charcoal in communal areas.
He said registration of bushfeed as animal fodder will allow for further investments, innovation and research into the product which could in future substitute theimportation of animal fodder from other countries. He said if research goes to the extend where bushfeed becomes competitive it can also be exported to other country and thus generate much needed foreign currency.
On harvesting of charcoal in communal areas, Mungunda said it will also provide income generating opportunities and relieve for farmers who are severely affected by the current drought.
“These policy announcements help to stimulate new interests, new investments and new research,” he noted.