Dry Climate an Aantage to Livestock Production

Namibia with its driest climate in Sub-Saharan Africa, is predominantly a livestock farming country, and this natural aantage has enabled Namibia to become a leading country in Africa, when it comes to good and well organised livestock production systems.

Livestock production accounts for more or less 70 % of the total agricultural output in our country, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, said last week when he officially launched the first Namibia Livestock Catalogue. He wished that the formidable book will be distributed widely to feed farmers and stakeholders with information about livestock breeds in the country. Mutorwa said the dry climatic conditions also contribute to Namibia’s ability as one of the few countries in the world that produces healthy nutritious meat under natural environment. With an increase in the global demand for livestock and livestock products, Namibia has a competitive edge over many livestock producing countries. “Due to these unique aantages, Namibian farmers and livestock keepers have managed to breed and adopt various livestock species, and a wide range of well-adapted breeds and ecotypes. The diverse livestock genetic pool is Namibia’s heritage and should be conserved, developed and protected, not only for future markets but for mitigating the effects of climate change as well. Therefore, there is a dire need for the Namibians to know what breeds do exist in their country, so as to strategise their utilisation and protection.”

“Looking critically at the content of this book – which summarises information about livestock breeds and echo-types found in Namibia – we must always be reminded of the symbiotic relationship between human kind and animals. This relationship started millions of years ago, when human beings moved in, to catch and tame or domesticate many animals for various good reasons. This practice is referred to as domestication,” he noted. Mutorwa said some of Namibia’s existing livestock breeds and ecotypes are of economic and strategic importance, but they are relatively unknown. “I therefore regard it as absolute necessary to summarise information about Namibia’s livestock breeds in a catalogue. This catalogue is a synopsis of breeds and ecotypes found in Namibia, and can be used as a guideline in livestock production. It is intended to inform and educate the beneficiaries of the production and the adaptability of such breeds in the Namibian environment. The catalogue will also assist aspiring livestock farmers to make informed decisions when selecting livestock breeds.”

Therefore he urged extension staff, farmers, agricultural faculties at tertiary institutions, researchers and investors to utilise this catalogue for a good course hoping that its reader and user will find it interesting and informative. He further sincerely hoped and wished that the catalogue will make a significant contribution towards promoting livestock production in Namibia and beyond.

Mutorwa said domestication of livestock is considered to be one of the most important developments in the history of human kind as it started to domesticate livestock species long before monetary or money value was attached to livestock. The main reasons for the domestication of livestock, then, were to provide food produce commodities such as hide and to assist with transportation of goods. Today livestock continues to play a very important indispensable part in the provision of animal protein and income to the growing human population across the globe. Apart from being a source of protein and income, livestock serves as a sign of wealth and as collateral for credit. It also offers opportunities, not only to increase food security, but as a pathway out of poverty. Therefore, livestock is an integral part of human kind and equally, one of the pre-requisite for the rise of human civilization.

“Amongst the domesticated livestock species, we also find the “big five”, as well. These are the livestock species which show widespread distribution in large numbers across the world. They are: cattle, sheep, chickens, goats and pigs. The “big five”, together with many more other species, have evolved over centuries into specialised breeds and types, either through natural selection for survival or via artificial human selection to fulfil the human’s needs,” he said. Mutorwa went on that domesticated livestock species are found in different climatic conditions and in most cases, one finds livestock production taking place in extreme weather conditions, where any other agricultural production is not possible. “This is evident in the fact that, the largest cattle populations in Africa is found in drier parts of Africa, particularly Ethiopia and Sudan,” he concluded.

Source : New Era