Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro Windhoek-Despite the menace of climate change that over the last three to four years has threatened communal farmers in the country through persistent droughts, a human issue has combined with the natural conditions to make farming in communal areas an endangered specy. This menace is none other than local auctioneers in the country whom communal farmers believe have been all out to destroy the cattle-producing industry in communal areas by especially buying heifers and cows from these areas. Because heifers and even cows are these days the milking cows in the cattle-buying industry, and dominated by local auctioneers who usually are the middle agents between local producers and the final destinations in South Africa, the abattoirs, communal farmers have been rapidly running out of heifers and cows for restocking their herds. As a result the cattle husbandry in the communal areas of the country is running the risk of rapidly retrogressing and eventually collapsing unless the farmers themselves come to this stark realisation and take drastic measures against this menace. The marketing of livestock from communal areas is one of the several vexed questions raised again at the first meeting of Harambee Vision 2030, an informal forum of communal farmers held here last Wednesday. Another issue of grave concern which farmers raised at the meeting is the rumoured discussions about the possible ban of export of weaners to South Africa, understandably on the initiative of the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) and Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU). Ironically the NNFU is the flagship union of the concerned communal farmers and its rumoured involvement in the suspected ban cannot augur much for its confidence especially among communal farmers from the regions of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke, which following their last congress last year, seem to have lost confidence in the union in representing their interests, especially as cattle breeders in view of the absence of representatives from these two regions on the new leadership of the union. In this regard the meeting requested through an NNFU’s national coordinator for livestock, Vetuundja Kazapua, present at the meeting in an individual capacity, an urgent meeting with the NFFU to clarify and verify the rumoured bid by the NNFU and Meatco to have the export of weaners to South Africa banned. A notice by the Omaheke Communal Land Board to the public regarding its intention to consider registering customary land rights applications in the Epukiro, Otjinene and Otjombinde constituencies, thus inviting the views of the public, was also a subject of vociferous expressions. Accusations rained at the meeting against traditional authorities wholesaling land to outsiders despite inhabitants continuing to suffer from land hunger. In fact, some traditional leaders in some of these constituencies have long been known to be selling land with impunity, a fact confirmed by an eminent attendant of the said meeting and a councillor of one of the constituencies in the Omaheke region. This has been an open secret that traditional leaders in communal areas have been selling plots of land to outsiders at the expense of their subjects and inhabitants of the constituencies. The chiefs of the traditional leaders with jurisdiction in the suspect constituencies seem to have been turning a blind ear and eye to such information. Thus, while the suspect leaders have been well known, no action seems to have been taken by the traditional authorities, or the chiefs of these authorities, against these leaders.
2018-02-20 10:24:56 7 months ago