PUBLIC LECTURE: The Microbiology-Indigenous Knowledge Nexus In Climate Change Coping Strategies In Namibia
The world, including Namibia, is grappling with the aggressive effects of climate change which impacts food production. However, innate and acquired climate change coping mechanisms have been around for a long time. The relationship between endophytic and rhizospheric bacteria in assisting a dry-adapted legume called Tylosema esculentum (marama bean), as contextualised to Namibia in using applications of Indigenous Tradional Knowledge, (ITK), is a tropical research area that will help researchers to better understand plant coping mechanisms to heat and drought stress in the Namibian agro-ecological setting. The nexus between indigenous knowledge and microbiology, albeit not easy to conceptualize at face value, has led to many interesting discoveries worldwide. This nexus was used to discover bacteria involved in arid climate adaption by the marama bean, which grows naturally in the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions of Namibia. The marama bean produces edible protein-rich seeds, even though the soil in these regions is low in nitrogen and phosphorous. Many plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGB) have been reported in this marama bean system and are now being tested in inoculant technology (biofertilizer) development for deployment in aridity-prone regions to support Namibia’s food security initiatives.