Role of Forest Uses in The Ohangwena and Caprivi Regions of Namibia in Poverty Alleviation; Academy of Finland.

Time: 2007-2010, Budget:150,000 euro

Poverty reduction is the priority of then Government of Namibia . In Namibia differences in income generation are the highest in the world. People in communal areas belong to the poorest group. Two poorest regions in Namibia are Ohangwena and Caprivi Regions. Both regions have newly made poverty profiles which give recent information on poverty in regions.

The status of forests in income generation has been only a little studied in Namibia . The first national-scale accounts on Forestry were calculated in 2005. However the Government of Namibia has an interest to find out the role of forests in poverty alleviation. In general communal area forests belong to the Government, but it is in a process of giving rights to communities to use the income generated from community forests to the communities themselves.

In the study the role of forest in income generation will be studied and the importance of forestry in land uses and poverty alleviation will be determined. The study has two phases. In the first phase the data used is from the time period when communities did not have rights to use the income generated from their own forest resources, in 2003-2005. The hypothesis in this phase is that the role of forest is below its potential, even though home consumption of forest products is significant. For the poor other land uses are more important than forestry, especially crop production.

The study will produce financial and economic budget and cost-benefit models and will concentrate on measuring differences between different land uses. The study will be conducted in the first phase from literature, unpublished reports, and published information. In the second phase the models will be upgraded using the new empirical information from pilot community forests. A risk in this phase is that the implementation of the data collection system, done by the Directorate of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, is delayed.

The study will analyze the profitability of forestry compared to other land uses in Okongo Community Forest in Ohangwena Region and Kwando Community Community Forest and Conservancy in Caprivi Region. The income generated in forestry will be compared to the other land uses. Detailed models will be developed for; 1) small-scale livestock keeping, 2) crop production; millet, sorghum, maize, 3) community wildlife use on high quality wildlife land; Kwando, 4) community wildlife use on low quality wildlife land; Okongo, 5) use of forests; firewood, construction material, fencing material, carpentry material, timber, grazing and non-wood products; thatch grass, reed and 6) tourism. These models can be adapted and applied later in other regions for evaluating the importance of different land uses.

Researcher: Tuulikki  Parviainen
Project Responsible: John Sumelius
Second supervisor: John Barnes