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5.1 Game meat

In some regions, this is referred to as bush meat. Forests provide habitats for many wildlife species. Forests provide stream habitats for many fresh water species, helping to maintain water temperatures and reduce stream sediments. Before the establishment of the National Parks in Namibia, the consumption of bushmeat was extremely high. Even though game, especially small antelope, is still available here and there, it is protected by the nature conservation law. Hence, the consumption rate of wildlife has significantly decreased in Namibia. It has been unfortunate that commercially rich farmers have been given permission to hunt and make use of the wildlife on their farms (Nature Conservation Act 1974). The recent development of Conservancy is encouraging, because rural communities will have a right to manage and utilize the game in their vicinity.

5.2 Fish from fresh water

The Namibian coasts border the Namib desert. Therefore it is the author's belief that forests and trees, except sea-plants, do not play a role on providing habitats, like in other countries where mangroves provide important habitat for fish breading. Fish in oceans are mainly fished for a commercial purpose and these are industrialised-based businesses. For this reason, the author feels that the role of forests is mainly restricted to rivers such as Okavango, Chobe, Linyanti and Zambezi river in the north-eastern borders and Kunene river in north-west, as well as seasonal flow in Oshanas in northern Namibia.

Fish play an important role in the daily diet of people who live near or along the rivers. For example, people living in the Caprivi region are able to catch fresh fish throughout the year. Fish do not only provide nutrients to the fishermen and their families but also cash income. Fish are sold in Katima Mulilo and Rundu's open markets. They are also transported to other towns of Namibia such as Oshakati and Windhoek. There is huge potential in the fresh water fishing industry in Namibia. More support is needed by farmers in the fishing areas, for example, proper freezing facilities as well as means of transport.

5.3 Insects as NWFPs

5.3.1 Caterpillars

Although it was difficult to obtain literature on this product, Mopane worms are well known for their delicacy. These caterpillars produce and lay on Collophospermum mopane which forms a large part of the savannah vegetation found in north-west of Namibia and other areas in a southern Africa sub region. It is sold at local markets at about N$20.00 per kg. The worms have also commercial potential in neighbouring countries. Other related types of caterpillars are consumed locally and play a major role in local people's diets as they are obtained from the following tree species:

· Burkea africana,

· Terminalia cericea

· Acacia species in Omusati and Oshana regions locally known as Okanaangole

5.3.2 Termites

Termites are normally consumed in many parts of Owambo during the rainy season. After heavy rainfalls, termites with wings fly towards the nearest light. People make fires in the open and catch such delicious and fatty insects. They are consumed in local areas in some parts of the country. There is no indication of commercial feasibility at all.

5.3.3 Apiculture

During the ODA-FUNDED project which lasted between 1994 and 1996, the first time attempt was made to record the occurrence of beehives in Namibia. The study revealed that many farmers were interested in bee-keeping and about 10 were trained in beekeeping. The Directorate of Forestry has a policy of promoting beekeeping in the country. Two officials were sent to the United Kingdom for a short course in beekeeping for effective extension in Namibia.

There are different kinds of bees found in the Namibian forests. In addition to the well-known bees, there are also smaller bees which make their nests/colonies either underground or in tree holes. Some of these are locally known (in Oshiwambo) as Owishi, Elonga and Okahaupapuka. They all produce the same honey which is sometimes even sweeter than the ordinary bees.

There are tree species known as a good source of food for bees. These include: Berchemia discollor, Baobab, and exotic eucalyptus spp. However, due to the dry climate in Namibia, severe water shortage in many parts of the country for long periods of the year, apiculture was found not to be a promising business, and will be mainly limited to the northern parts of Namibia.

Furthermore, it has been noted that many people regard bees as dangerous insects instead of good friends who are talented at producing honey. The project concluded that beekeeping has a high potential in northern Namibia. It is, therefore, important to intensify the promotion campaign on bee keeping. There is no doubt that honey is good for business in Namibia. More than 90% of honey eaten in the country is currently imported. Farmers need to be educated on harvesting skills. It has been learnt that instead of only removing honey, farmers kill bees in the harvesting process.

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