ONGWEDIVA - Given the recurrent drought, selling fodder has become the new business of the day, particularly in the northern regions where grazing is almost depleted.
Communal farmers, who can afford, are now flocking to nearby towns to purchase animal fodder to save their livestock from the debilitating drought.
In addition to buying from nearby towns, some farmers are sourcing animal fodder over the redline.
Struggling communities are also capitalising on the drought and cutting available grass in their communities to sell alongside roads where piles of grass can be spotted.
Equally, some communities have resorted to collecting pods from thorn trees for the smaller breeds such as goats while others out of desperation have resorted to card boxes.
Sadly, those who do not have access to any supplementary feed let their livestock graze on anything in the hope that their animals would make it through the drought.
The situation is so dire that the President of the National Farmers Union (NFU), Jackson Emvula, is advising farmers to capitalise on every opportunity available to destock, including weddings, funerals or parties in their communities.
Emvula said many farmers had relocated their livestock to Uuvudhiya Constituency, however, the area has now equally run out of grazing.
“The heaps of carcasses in the area speak volumes; they are so many,” said Emvula.
He said the union is collecting data on how many livestock, particularly cattle have died so far, and is requesting farmers to liaise with the Uuvudhiya Constituency Office and Agricultural Extension Officers to have their dead cattle recorded.
Emvula was, however, thrilled to notice that kapana business, particularly in the northern regions, has picked up which shows that people are serious about destocking.
In the same vein, Emvula urged local retailers to buy meat from local farmers.
Much to the frustration of local farmers, the price of fodder has skyrocketed making it unaffordable, particularly for the majority that is without an income.
Julius Lukas, who was purchasing fodder for his livestock, said the prices has increased significantly and has become unaffordable.
He said the big bales, depending on size of the herd, only last a few days while the smaller ones only last a day or can feed only a limited number.
The big fodder bales, particularly those that are made of maize stalks are between N$700 and N$1 000.
The smaller bales are between N$170 and N$200 at many places, including the famous Lucerne.
However, at places such as Oshivelo, communities along the road sell smaller bundles at rates ranging between N$120 and N$150.
A businessman, who refused to be named, said many of the people who are flocking beyond the redline are those who buy to resell.
Although it seems as if the business is thriving, the businessman said farmers are struggling to purchase the fodder, as many cannot afford.
He also criticised government for making people believe that they qualify for subsidy.
“We have been giving people receipts to allow them to get subsidy, but you will not find a single person who will tell you about the subsidy,” said the businessman.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the town hall meeting in Oshana recently said 1 500 animal fodder bales have been allocated to Oshana.
The Prime Minister also expressed concern that people are not making use of the subsidy.
She said the Oshana Region has only received one claim for fodder and none for grazing lease or transportation of livestock, hence, she urged the community to make use of the availed services.
2019-08-16 07:29:23 5 days ago