The only acceptable solution for any agriculture activity is the one where global environmental impact is absent. A Zero carbon footprint and the most resource sensitive processes that are both sustainable and renewable must be at the core of all activities.
What can be done to offset the economic risks and create value chains within Namibia’s borders that will not only create jobs, but also ensure positive outcomes in relation to affordable, locally available and high quality manufactured goods, food and fresh produce? The same question is relevant for water management, energy generation and sustainable transport solutions.
The answer lies in the European model off a Circular Bio based economy. Given the state of affairs of the local economy, Namibia can not develop a program that is as time intensive as the European model, however if we start at the bottom, do the little things well and profitable, our economy will eventually flourish at our particular scale.
Asking for assistance from our neighbour countries for their buy in will not only benefit their economies, it will create regional opportunities. The issue here is that those countries are dealing with the same issues as Namibia and their thought processes and policies may delay on the ground developments. Talking is no longer enough, actions are needed to show the way and inspire and here Namibia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to guide Africa. Being a small country in relation to number of people and industry, has huge positive benefits when it comes to instigating change and new developments.
By seeing the Namibian economy as one organism that produces and consumes for its own needs and export markets with no waste and no negative impact on its environment in a sustainable and renewable fashion, you are seeing a Circular Bio based economy. When all countries eventually operate in this way, humans will start to fix that which we have broken on our planet, or at the very least ensure our survival in a changing climate.
Given Namibia’s unique set of circumstances, the Circular Bio Based Economic model proposed will differ from larger countries and economies. Namibia will utilise best practise to offset research and start up costs from European and commonwealth partners. The specific technology used will either be Regional or National depending on the climate, resources and availability of human capital. There are many advantages to leap frogging certain older technologies in securing up to date and proven solutions tailored for Namibia.
This proposed Circular Bio Based Economy model has been researched with both practical and academic focus to offer immediate implementation possibilities.
The Namibian economy has established economic pillars such as Agriculture, Mining, Tourism and others. These entities are removed from one another by means of different policies, governance and importance. By integrating the existing economy into the new model the separate pillars will change more into interlinked areas as each pillar will play a role in supporting the next economic entity in supporting the economic system.
Agriculture and in particular Horticulture, water, energy, transport, education and finance sectors are the key drivers for implementing the changes needed to enable a Namibian version of a Circular Bio Based Economy.
By Willem Baartman