OPUWO – Meat vendors at Opuwo are finding it very hard to survive given the unrelenting drought, which has crippled their business, as many of the livestock are too lean to sell.
This has resulted in a fewer number of customers visiting the area where livestock is sold from in Opuwo.
Before the drought, Uleniko Mululeni said they were able to sell at least 40 goats per person in a day, however, these days a day can pass without selling any goat.
These sellers sell smaller livestock such as goats and sheep.
In addition, the traders are also then forced by the situation to sell the livestock for peanuts.
“These days on a good day, if you sell maybe it is ten goats, but that is if you are lucky,” said Mululeni who spoke on behalf of the group.
Mululeni said their livelihood is badly affected, as selling livestock is their only source of income to sustain their families.
“The situation does not only affect us, it affects our families because if we don’t sell, there is also no money at home,” said Mululeni.
Due to the lack of grazing in the vicinity, the farmers said some of the livestock die even before they are sold, as there is no money to buy feeds.
At the open market, business is quiet with only a few customers spotted just after lunch.
The meat vendors charged that because the meat is lean, customers are not coming forth.
Tjarimbua Raimond said when business was good, all the stalls used to be full of meat, but with the current situation, some vendors have resorted to staying at home because business is slow.
“Imagine buying meat and because there is no one to buy, it starts to rot and you have not regained the money you bought the goat for. Sometimes it does not help to come to work,” said Raimond.
They say that the situation was further crippled by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Raimond said they have for a long time not been able to sell cattle because of the regulations that was in place.
He is hopeful that the situation will change with the relaxed restrictions allowing the movement of live cattle from the FMD free zone for direct slaughter within 72 hours upon arrival and under the supervision of veterinary services.
The communal farmer said the relaxed restrictions will allow their usual northern customers to buy cattle to slaughter for meat and kapana in their areas.