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Home / Kavango Cattle Ranch to include wildlife reserve…immediate water point rehabilitation agreed upon

Kavango Cattle Ranch to include wildlife reserve…immediate water point rehabilitation agreed upon

2022-08-15  Edgar Brandt

Kavango Cattle Ranch to include wildlife reserve…immediate water point rehabilitation agreed upon

The trade ministry and the environment ministry will co-finance the immediate rehabilitation of water points at the Kavango Cattle Ranch (KCR) and fast-track the establishment of a wildlife reserve on the massive property to increase the ranch’s revenue through tourism. 

This was revealed by trade minister Lucia Iipumbu, who on Friday led a delegation to visit the cattle ranch, where employees have accused Namibian Industrialisation Agency (Nida) leadership of contributing to the deterioration and dilapidation of the parastatal farm conglomerate. 

The poor state of the KCR recently came to the fore when visiting regional officials discovered numerous cattle carcasses at various water points on the ranch which is approximately 168 900 hectares in size.

The ranch comprises over 40 individual farms, primarily used for livestock production. Estimates are that since January 2015, the number of cattle on the ranch decreased significantly from more than 16 300 head of cattle to less than 10 000 today.

During Friday’s visit, Iipumbu confirmed both ministries have already secured all necessary internal approvals and endorsements for the water point rehabilitation.

 Also, the two ministries will finalise a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to ensure a management plan to support breeding and nature-based tourism enterprise development for the wildlife reserve component of the ranch. 

“The MIT would herewith thus take this opportunity to express its sincerest gratitude to the MEFT (Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) and its Game Product Trust Fund for the much-valued outreach and collaborative stance that shall ensure the further averting of both livestock and game mortalities. In addition, it is equally appreciated that an MoA will further embellish both parties resolve to ensure the sustenance of our natural capital through the completion of a management plan for the envisaged wildlife reserve,” said Iipumbu. 

The trade minister called the dilapidated state of the KCR “highly regrettable”, particularly at a time when Namibia is trying to make inroads on a much-needed economic recovery. 

“It is, therefore, disheartening to observe the undesirable state of affairs at KCR,” said Iipumbu.  

She added the trade ministry has taken note of the Nida management’s recent visit to the farm and their commitments made to turn around the state of affairs. 

However, she explained, as the ministry under which the operational mandate of Nida – and by extension KCR – resorts, the trade ministry saw it prudent to conduct an assessment at the macro-level to allow for appropriate policy interventions. 

The upgrading and optimisation of the Kavango Cattle Ranch were initially identified as a flagship project for value addition under the Growth at Home Execution Strategy for industrialisation. 

Consequently, the trade ministry developed a business plan for KCR, which was completed and endorsed in 2017. 

This endorsement led to ensuring its programming within the trade ministry’s development budget portfolio under the National Planning Commission. 

As such, the KCR Business Plan is premised around four business and development areas, namely an abattoir and a meat processing facility; fodder production; game reserve as well as ensuring the construction of labour housing. 

This business and development pivot was meant to ensure the creation of private sector opportunities. 

However, Iipumbu noted that given the state of KCR, as an asset, in 2016, “the business plan correctly identified the need for additional public investment to bring the facility to some level of development to ensure the optimisation of private sector investment attraction. The resultant public investment pertains to substantial fencing work, rehabilitation of water points and de-bushing work”. 

On Friday, Iipumbu stated these public investment measures entail a delicate balancing act to ensure a viable elephant management strategy whilst work is ongoing while also mainstreaming micro, small and medium enterprises employment opportunities. 

Said Iipumbu: “Given the development budget, programming the MIT along with Nida has been implementing the work within the above-described context. Collaborative partnerships are therefore key during this public investment phase and as issues arise”. 

Meanwhile, Nida has refuted mismanagement at the farm and linked the significant loss of livestock to pure normal fatalities. 

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi also recently visited the cattle ranch to familiarise himself with operations on the farm and assess the overall state.

 He was accompanied by members of the Kavango West Regional Council, Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku and Nida’s top management.


2022-08-15  Edgar Brandt

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