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Councillors urge tractor owners to register

2023-01-06  Victoria Kaapanda

Councillors urge tractor owners to register

Northern councillors are calling individual tractor owners to register themselves at regional offices to help farmers who are unable to get a chance to use limited government tractors.

The agriculture ministry provided 145 tractors for subsistence farmers; each constituency received one or two.

Agriculture ministry spokesperson Jona Musheko indicated the government has over the years roped in private tractor owners in a price-sharing scheme, whereby the farmer pays half and the government pays the other half.

According to the councillors, individual tractors stopped registering for this service, as the ministry took months to pay its part. 

They said the problem is now solved and payment takes only a few days.

The councillors also acknowledged the shortage of government tractors, saying there are only one or two government tractors per constituency.

Those benefitting from the government tractor pay only N$250 per hectare.

Ogongo constituency councillor Daniel Iilende said the challenge was the money that was not being paid on time, but that issue is now solved.

“Individual tractors want cash at that time; that’s why they stopped registering for this programme. We are now calling them to meet us halfway, as government tractors are not enough; we only have one tractor in our constituency, which is not enough,” he said.

He further said private-owned tractors are charging farmers a lot of money per hectare – that is why the councillors are calling them to register for the programme for the government to assist with the other half of the money. Aram Martin, councillor of Oshakati West, said it is not too late for individual tractors to register.

“The challenge was the money that was not paid on time, since the money was coming from Windhoek. Now the money is available in the region. Constituencies need private tractors to meet farmers halfway,” he said. He added that he thanked private tractors in his constituency for understanding and hearing their cries. most of them, if not all, have registered. 

Councillor of the Uuvudhiya constituency Timoteus Shivute said individual tractors are needed in his constituency, and they will appreciate it if they register for this programme, as money is no longer an obstacle.

“For those complaining that they have not heard of this programme, we have been announcing this through the radio since last year; it is just that they cannot all get a chance, since government tractors are only two and cannot finish ploughing for all the houses,” he stated.

Shivute promised to engage administration officers to see how the matter can be addressed during the next ploughing season.

He lamented that services should be distributed equally in the constituency – and as such, other village residents should also benefit from the subsidised tractor services.

Farmers in the central north of Namibia are calling on the government, through the agriculture ministry, to give them more tractors, since they are cheaper.

Kambonde Matheus from Ombathi village in the Ogongo constituency of the Omusati region said the area has received good rainfall, but they have nothing with which to plough their field.

He said they normally use donkeys, oxen or tractors, but this has been made impossible this year because of the 2019 devastating drought that killed a large number of animals.

Matheus said the situation is worsened by the fact that children who usually assist with ploughing during holidays will be going back to school soon.

“We acknowledge that the government has been assisting farmers with subsidised ploughing and is even providing tractors, but these are not enough,” he said.

Privately-owned tractors, which are also scarce, are too expensive, as many farmers are charging N$650 per hour.

Joseph Immanuel from Alusaati village said councillors should approach the government on the issue of tractors.

Immanuel said even if you registered at the office of the councillor, you will wait forever because there is only one government tractor for the whole Alusaati constituency. 

“If it breaks down, it leaves many farmers in the constituency stranded,” he added.

Saima Nelumbu from Ekamba village said over the weekend, many villagers were desperate because there were no tractors to plough their fields, except for those charging them N$600 or N$650.

“We really do not know what to do. We hope the government hears our plight and help us before the rains stop,” she said.

Many regional councillors from Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati told farmers through the NBC Oshiwambo radio that there are not enough government tractors, so they are calling private tractors to register at the regional offices.


2023-01-06  Victoria Kaapanda

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