Omaheke aims to become major dairy producer

Home National Omaheke aims to become major dairy producer

Maihapa Ndjavera 

The Omaheke region, well known as Namibia’s cattle country, has embarked on a quest to save the country’s dairy industry from total collapse. According to Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate, the region is in line to become one of the hubs for dairy products amidst efforts to become self-sufficient and create more employment.

“The region is trying hard to diversify its economy and see how it can resolve some of the challenges like poverty and unemployment. We availed land for this industry to kick-start. The aim is to supply our hospital and schools with own dairy products,” he said last week in Gobabis while addressing a career fair.

The governor noted that some 700ha of irrigated land has been targeted for the regional dairy industry. 

According to a document seen by New Era, the agriculture ministry is considering a dairy value chain development scheme, with the sole purpose to develop a rural dairy industry based on small and medium farmers’ production systems. 

The scheme seeks to link rural milk production to formal markets, including government entities, catering services and retailers. Through this initiative, the ministry aims to stimulate an increase in milk and dairy products in the country. 

Target groups for the dairy scheme include existing communal, resettled and emerging commercial dairy producers. The report added that a total of N$4 million is allocated in the 2022/23 financial year for the pilot projects. The scheme further supports dairy producers through the provision of a subsidy on veterinary medicines, feeds, equipment and input, machinery, materials and shelter. 

Agriculture ministry spokesperson Jona Musheko said: “We are piloting in Omaheke and Otjozondjupa. After that, we will assess how it performed and we shall determine whether we can roll it out or not.”

In a recent interview with the Namibian Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC), chief agricultural scientific officer Jorry Kaurivi said dairy production in rural areas has the potential to significantly contribute to poverty eradication because it can be practised intensively at the household level.

Kaurivi added that the government said the project which will gain a domestic market share, would not only sustain the livestock sector in particular but the agricultural sector in general and would address food shortage in the country.