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Climate Smart Feedlot Mitigating Drought Effects in Namibia

Despite the ravaging drought affecting the country, one specific feedlot in Outjo, has managed to lessen the effects of the ongoing drought as well as the escalating feed prices, by creating a climate smart feedlot. Agri GreenGrow recently successfully combined a sheep feedlot with aeroponic fodder production to create a climate smart feedlot which operates 365 days a year in Namibia where its desert, arid and semi-arid land are classified as one of the driest in the sub-Saharan Africa. Keith Thompson from Agri GreenGrow in response to questions posed by the Economist said that the battle against year-on-year droughts, lower rangeland carrying capacities, bush encroachment and loss of livestock to predators are often problems that farmers face continually.

However, "Climate Smart Feedlots" - a term coined by Agri GreenGrow, allows farmers to run profitable feedlot operations from anywhere in the country on an area much smaller than always. According to Thompson, Agri GreenGrow's sheep feedlot in Outjo measures only 600m² in size on which 90 sheep are successfully fattened for market. And to really prove the value of sprouted fodder, Damara sheep that are renowned for not being the best feedlot candidates, were used to prove the trial.

"The results obtained were above industry norm with the carcass weights being the most impressive, slaughtering out 16% more than industry averages. Even a well-known abattoir in the Kunene region commented on the superior quality of the meat and now buys only from Agri GreenGrow for him personally," Thompson said. Thompson said with aeroponically grown sprouted fodder available every day of the year as the main feed ingredient, sheep are bought and sold every month right through the year and there is no more seasonal farming while waiting for the erratic rain.

Greg Goebel

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