Omaheke conservancies’ wealth not benefiting communities

GOBABIS: The wealth of nature and wildlife conservancies in the Omaheke Region is yet to trickle down to the region’s inhabitants, despite the region hosting two well-established conservancies.

Although communities stand to benefit from conservancies through trophy hunting and other means, such proceeds have not been forthcoming to communities living in and around the region’s two conservancies.

The Omaheke Region hosts the Otjombinde Conservancy, which extends from the eastern boundary of the region’s Otjombinde Constituency up to some areas of the Epukiro Constituency.

The second conservancy of Omuramba ua Mbinda also borders the Otjombinde Constituency, but extends northwards towards Eiseb Block and parts of Gam in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Peter-Hain Kazapua, a local tourism entrepreneur and nature conservation enthusiast based at Gobabis, told Nampa on Wednesday that proper channels need to be created between the line Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and communities living in and around conservancies.

Kazapua said there are no clear directives as to how communities can benefit from conservancies, while proceeds from conservancies seldom reach them.

“Currently, there is confusion as to how communities can benefit from conservancies established in their areas of residence. For instance, how does an ordinary community member in Eiseb or Otjombinde benefit from activities of a conservancy which is located near to him? There are unnecessary bottlenecks that often discourage people from accessing benefits from conservancies,” he said.

Kazapua noted that farmers, especially those living in or around conservancies , are often encouraged to live in harmony with wild animals, but the channels for claiming damages for losing their animals to predators are often unnecessary burdensome.

“For a farmer to claim for a cow that was killed by a predator takes too long. The ministry has a long process that sometimes leads to farmers being discouraged,” he said.