Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Okavango Research Institute set aside funds to “deal” with invasive plants

The Okavango Research Institute, an arm of the University of Botswana has advanced plans towards starting a restoration project that will see the centre fighting the emergence of invasive plants in the Ngamiland area.

A Researcher, Keotshephile Kashe said in an interview that the project is meant to establish how many invasive plant species have grown in the area, the impact they have on the environment; including pastures in farming areas. The project has been sponsored by National Environment Fund (NEF) at the tune of P206, 870.

“The project will soon start. It has already been indicated to us that funds have been dispatched for the project. We are going to start up with a stakeholders’ workshop. Government departments which include, Non Governmental Organizations and farmers,” explained Kashe. He added that farmers are important stake holders as these invasive plants tend to invade their farms, sometimes leaving negative impacts.

The workshop is hoped to unveil the number of species that have invaded the area and their country of origin. Kashe highlighted that the Ngami area as a tourist area experiences influx of people from different countries and cultures who might bring with them seeds of foreign countries’ plants into Botswana soil. These later germinate and grow in the rivers and river banks. They are later pollinated into the wider space, causing bush encroachments. He also pointed out the fact that some plants like the Sexaxa, common in the Kgalagadi area were brought into the country in good spirit; for the sake of controlling sand dunes in the area. Poor management however led to it encroachment of the environment.

He expressed hope that the project would; by the time it is complete in two years yield results that would influence policy change through amendment of legal instruments so as to control presence of invasive plants in the country.

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