• November 27th, 2020

Farmers Forum


Strange cattle breeds: The Beefalo

Beefalo are a fertile hybrid offspring or cross of domestic cattle (Bos taurus) – usually a male – and the American buffalo (Bison bison), usually a female in managed breeding programs. The breed was created to combine the characteristics of both animals for beef production.


Mahangu – the wonder millet

MAHANGU, also known as pearl millet, is a subsistence rain-fed cereal crop which is the major staple food for over 50% of the Namibian population. The crop is produced in Zambezi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, and in parts of the Otjozondjupa region, in the Tsumkwe area.


Phosphorus: A vital diet supplement

Ever had difficulties preventing your cattle from eating all forms of dirt in the form of plastic bags, dry bones, cloths or even wire? Such actions by cattle are not unique to your herd only – it is a universal occurrence associated with diet-related problems.


Coronavirus delays implementation of AEZs

The implementation of the country’s agro-ecological zones (AEZs), the carrying capacity maps and their framework database with a reliable and dynamic GIS model has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein has said.


Ex-health minister thrives in farming

OTAVI – Former minister of health Dr Richard Kamwi is a man of multiple tasks. After the health portfolio, Kamwi currently serves on the steering committee for the African task force on Covid-19; he serves as ambassador for Malaria Elimination 8 (E8), constituting four mainland countries, namely: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland).


Rainfall alone cannot guarantee optimal rangeland recovery

A rangeland refers to a land area inhabited by native plants (grass, forbs, shrubs & trees) utilized by domestic and wild animals. Rangelands have direct or indirect support to all forms of life and is the cheapest source of food for livestock.  Humans also derive food, medicine, and construction materials amongst others from the rangeland.


Agri sector welcomes Schlettwein

Stakeholders in the agriculture sector yesterday welcomed newly-appointed minister of agriculture, water and land reform Calle Schlettwein, saying he possesses the required experience, skills and training to bring the desired change to the industry.


Agra auctions to continue as normal

Agra senior marketing manager Chrislemien Stroh yesterday told Farmers Forum that Agra auctions will continue as planned but protocol is currently being put in place to lower the risk for the staff and clients who decide to attend.


Katima abattoir kick-starts operations

RUNDU – The Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) has resumed operations at its Katima Mulilo abattoir in the Zambezi region following a successful test slaughtering of six cattle on Thursday, Meatco spokesperson Rosa Hamukwaya-Thobias said.

Omatako expo to turn heads

This year’s Omatako expo looks to be bigger and even better. Attendees of the 2020 expo can be part of some outstanding educational sessions, connect with the who’s who of agriculture and learn all the latest and greatest agricultural innovations, expo coordinator Tjivii Tjombe told Farmers Forum last week.


UN avails N$10m to farmers

The United Nations (UN) Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative and in response to government appeal last week unveiled N$10 million funding for a drought mitigation project.


Agriculture ministry to revive orchards

OMUTHIYA - Several orchard projects under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the Oshikoto region are in a beleaguered state, as plants have wilted, while workers have abandoned the site, which is now left at the mercy of community volunteers.  


Namibia to receive high rainfall

WINDHOEK - Namibia is among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries expected to receive high rainfall, this is according the consensus forecast produced by the 23rd Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) that met in Luanda, Angola, on 28-30 August.

Opinion: EIF sets record straight 

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia notes with concern the article that was published by New Era Newspaper as the content is misleading and portrays an image that the EIF as an institution is not transparent, which is a damaging image of the institution.


Rain forecast post-drought

WINDHOEK - The rainy season for 2018/19 ended at the end of April this year. After assessing the supply situation, NamWater announced the supply outlook for the next two years (2019 to 2021), particularly the


Plant Poisoning

Many rangeland plants contain chemicals that are poisonous to livestock when eaten. Poisonous plants vary in their toxicity and the symptoms displayed by affected animals. Generally, the level of toxicity can be


Feeding poultry

The importance of feed cost can never be overemphasized as it continues to be and remains a key driver to any intensive livestock operation, including poultry. Feed costs represent 60 – 75 percent of operating

Farming is a business 

Farming has for long been perceived as a tradition or a way of life in some societies. On the one hand, such a perception still has an inherent business aspect to it because there is a practice of exchange of


The economic value of grass

On a visit to a Brahman stud farmer in the maize triangle, we were greeted by a veldt fire that seems to have spread from the neighbours at the farm gate. With a sense of concern in one eye and yet grateful that


Meatco urges producers to submit slaughter bookings

WINDHOEK - Due to the exceptionally high demand for slaughter allocations at the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco), the corporation has urgently requested producers to submit all booking requests for the months of August, September, and October as this will give Meatco an indication of how much the demand is for slaughter space.  


Congo Fever under control in Oshikoto

OMUTHIYA - Animal technicians from various veterinary offices in Oshikoto Region were hard at work for the past three days, treating animals over suspected presence of a Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), simply known as Congo Fever,  in the area.


Repair work on red line resumes amid heated debate about moving the fence

WINDHOEK - The Meat Board of Namibia (MBN) is assisting the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) with maintenance of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) through the appointment of temporary fencing teams, servicing of a grader, transporting of fencing material and, in collaboration with the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), funding audits of the VCF and border fences to determine the status of the fences.


Cattle exports take a 26.5% dip

WINDHOEK - Despite severe drought conditions, cattle exports declined considerably by 26.49 percent in the first quarter of the year due to weak demand for weaners by South African feedlots who were adversely affected by Foot-and-Mouth Disease-related trade restrictions. Since weaner exports are a leading contributor to the sector’s performance, their decline greatly influenced an overall weak performance. 

Hanse is the new Master Agronomist

WINDHOEK - Hanse van der Merwe of Farm Ludwighaven in the Oshikoto Region was crowned Master Agronomist of the Year during the recently held annual member meeting of the Agronomy Producers Association (APA) and the Master Agronomist Day outside Tsumeb.

Finance shortages hamper DVS system

WINDHOEK - Due to financial shortages, the annual farm inspections system of the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) is now being reviewed and it boils down to the fact that farms that do not form part of the surveillance zone will only receive farm inspections on an ad hoc basis. 


48-hour downpours: Too little too late…

WINDHOEK – As the rainy season is dwindling down over the sub-region, the likelihood for rainfall recovery is virtually nil. This, despite the 48-hour light to locally moderate rainfall that resulted in up to 70mm of rain over some parts of the central areas of Namibia over the past weekend. It was a question of too little too late, weather forecasters say.


Charcoal industry blossoms, Swakara takes a nose-dive

WINDHOEK – A dramatic decline of 32 percent in the production value of Swakara and an even more dramatic increase of 66 percent in the production value of charcoal are some of the most prominent indicators of the state of Namibian agriculture in 2018, a study by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) reveals.  


Growing own fodder can cut feeding costs substantially

WINDHOEK - An entrepreneurial couple from a plot at Brakwater has embarked on a countrywide mission to empower small scale farmers and encourage aspiring farmers to grow their own livestock fodder as the crippling drought of 2019 is depleting grazing and devastating rangelands with each and every passing day.

Farming with meat rabbits a  viable option in tough times

WINDHOEK - Rabbits have the potential to be one of the most profitable livestock to raise. Their ability to give birth to large litters of kits (5 to 15 kits per litter) every 40 to 45 days and the ability of these offspring to grow fast and reach market and breeding weight more quickly than any other livestock, surely gives rabbits the edge.

Poor rainfall delays cultivation

WINDHOEK - The first half of the 2018/2019 rainfall season saw an extremely poor rainfall which subsequently caused considerable delay in cultivation activities, notes the December 2018 Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation report of the National Early Warning and Information System of Namibia.


Agronomic producers push for rain-fed surplus grain

WINDHOEK -  In light of the reality that many communal and commercial crop producers are once again likely to be confronted with crop failures, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) is pushing  that the Harambee Rain-fed Surplus Grain Production Programme gets out of the blocks as soon as possible. 


PDNFU on course charting troubled waters of farming

WINDHOEK - Unlike their commercial counterparts, third to fourth generation of farmers in commercial farming who are exclusively white, who have inherited their farms, this is not the case with farmers who have bought their farms under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) and who are predominantly previously disadvantaged blacks.

Climate Prediction Centre forecasts a drier February

WINDHOEK - The Climate Prediction Centre’s Africa Hazards Outlook report for January paints a disturbingly dry picture of Namibia for February. The report states that the season’s rainfall to date remains less than a quarter of normal, suggesting  drought conditions are likely to strengthen for many regions in southern Africa.


Drought aid programme launches

WINDHOEK - Sixteen down and out farmers from Keetmanshoop, Grunau, Koes, Bethanie, Karasburg and Aroab in the South could not hide their relief and joy last Friday when the  lorry of Corrie Korf from Mariental arrived back from the Grootfontein area with a precious first load of 950 bales of lucerne and 100 bags of lucerne pills.


FMD outbreak in South Africa poses Namibia with daunting task

WINDHOEK – The suspension of import and in-transit movement of cloven-hoofed animals or their products from South Africa due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth diseease (FMD) in that country will hit Namibia’s already struggling dairy industry hard, while significant strain on the beef, pork and mutton markets cannot be ruled out.

Climate smart agriculture a paradigm for climate change

The Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) together with the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) in 2015 implemented the Conservation Agriculture (CA) Component under the ‘Farmers Clubs with Climate-smart Agriculture for Improved Resilience and Livelihoods of Small-scale Farmers in Kavango Project’. The aim is to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, as well as assisting them with adapting to climate change. 


Van Heerden  is weaner winner for 2018

WINDHOEK - Woman power ruled again this year when Loraine van Heerden, owner of Lorden Brahman, was crowned National Weaner Champion for 2018 at a gala dinner attended by sponsors, participants of the competition, invited guests and the Agra management team, at the River Crossing Lodge.


Meatco’s turnaround strategy paying dividends, says CEO

WINDHOEK - After one of its most turbulent years, acting CEO of Meatco Jannie Breytenbach says the Meatco board of directors strongly believes the company as per their vision can still be the preferred marketing channel for Namibian livestock farmer and to promote the most sought-after meat brands in the long-term interest of our stakeholders.

LPO  discusses marketing access for communal farmers

WINDHOEK - Given that 60-70 percent of weaners that are marketed come from the communal sector, various strategies were discussed during the annual planning session of the Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) held in Windhoek, on how to improve access to marketing channels for these communal farmers.

Roleplayers working round the clock to contain Anthrax

WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), together with the Regional, Local and Traditional Authorities, Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, farmers and other stakeholders are working round the clock to ensure the Anthrax infected carcasses are disposed.


Smart farming practices spotlighted 

WINDHOEK- Smart Farming is the topic of a discussion on Thursday at the Namibia Institute of Personnel and Administration Management (NIPAM) Executive Conference Hall. The event is open to the public, but registration is essential. Registration forms can be downloaded from the Bank Windhoek website: www.bankwindhoek.com.na. 


Fence between Namibia and Angola not the option

WINDHOEK- The erection of a fence between Angola and Namibia is not an option due to historical commitments but zones must be created that are declared free of foot-and-mouth disease, says Dr Alex Toto, a private veterinary consultant with a good background on animal health status and trade. He was speaking at the annual planning meeting of the Livestock Producers Association (LPO)  last week.


Meat Board avails NS55 000 for brucella tests

WINDHOEK - Discussions at high levels continue after the Meat Board of Namibia has availed N$55 000 for the most necessary support to continue brucella tests for goat exports to South Africa, following a circular from the Central Veterinary Laboratory indicating that due to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry's cost-cutting measures, the laboratory is no longer in a position to carry out necessary tests for livestock and meat exports. 


Wheels in motion to bring back after-hours livestock auctions

WINDHOEK- The wheels have been set in motion to bring back after-hours auctions. Meetings are now being set up with the relevant authorities and if all goes well, buyers and sellers will next year be treated again to evening auctions that have attracted scores of attendants in the past before they were cancelled because  government was unable  to pay veterinarians  overtime for after-hours work.


Veld fires are natural or man-made

Veld fires can occur naturally or as man-made. Naturally, veld fires are an event that serves an ecological role in its effects. The role of fire amongst others is to stimulate new plant growths and maintain vegetation structure.


Important to share land – Geingob

WINDHOEK - Lessons of the Second National Land Conference must be a caution to land owners about the importance to share, said President Hage Geingob when closing the conference on Friday after five days of intense deliberations on issues related to land.


Wry neck syndrome in poultry birds

Wryneck, also known as crooked/twisted neck refers to a muscular disorder in poultry manifested by a curved neck and limited head mobility. It is not an illness in itself but rather a symptom used to describe an abnormal head and neck position. It affects all poultry birds such as ducks, doves, chickens etc. and mostly occurs when birds are fed incorrect diets. 


NAU wants to know why government waived five million hectares of land offered

WINDHOEK –The prominent issue to be investigated and actions taken at the land conference are the reasons  and  challenges  as  to  why  the  Ministry  of  Land  Reform  waived  five million hectares of  land  offered  since 1992,  rather  than  abolishing  the principle of willing buyer, willing seller, says the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) president, Ryno van der Merwe.


Colonial wars dispossessed Namibians of their land

WINDHOEK – The colonial wars that ensued following the arrival of German troops and eventually culminated in the infamous genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people, between 1904 and 1908, dispossessed Namibians of their land, by force and without compensation, said President Hage Geingob when opening the Second National Land Conference in Windhoek yesterday. 


Windhoek Show now open to all goats

WINDHOEK - Regulations for goat farmers have been relaxed for the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show, which starts this weekend with the only requirement being that an exhibitor must be a member of a goat society and does not have to be a member of a Namibian show society or a specific association.

Congresses to spotlight agricultural sector

WINDHOEK - The Livestock Producers Organisation’s congress on October 9, the Namibian Agricultural Union’s congress on October 11 will both look at pushing growth in the agricultural sector telling by their common theme: Ignite growth in agriculture – the basis for job creation and value addition. 


Swakara industry set for another glamorous award ceremony

WINDHOEK - After world renowned designer from Paris Jørgen Simonsen last year made headlines with his Swakara’s 110-year anniversary opera coatdress, shot on location at sunset in the Deadvlei in the Namibian Desert by photographer Perer Christian Christensen and worn beautifully by Carmen Kass, the Swakara Industry Forum is set for another golden year.


Mbingeneeko & Son make clean sweep at Aminuis Show

WINDHOEK- Stud small stock breeder Nichlas Mbingeneeko and son, Vija,  of the farm Skuilhoek in the Aminuis Constituency swept the Aminuis Show clean  as far as the small stock are concerned when his two goats, a ram and ewe, were judged champions while his sheep, a Damara ewe, was also a champion in the sheep category.