John Muyamba RUNDU - Kavango East Regional Farmers Union (KERFU) says their members who are livestock farmers are negatively affected by the Veterinary Cordon Fence, which for decades prevented them from marketing their livestock south of the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs). Removing the redline has been a hot topic over the years but no agreement was ever reached to remove it, KERFU chairperson Adolf Muremi who spoke on behalf of farmers at a press briefing here in Rundu on Wednesday said their union is not calling for the physical removal of the fence, but it wants the laws and policies changed in order not to restrict livestock and beef movement. “Our union is pro-moving the redline to our border with Angola. Our union is not calling for the physical removal of the fence but changing the law and policies which makes the Veterinary Cordon Fence a law that restricts the movement of livestock and livestock products from north to south,” Muremi said. “In the same vein, our union would like to state it clear that, moving the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) have been long on our agenda. We are therefore not in support of those refusing moving the VCF to the Namibia/Angola border citing grazing as a reason (which we believe should be an issue to be addressed separately). Kavango East and West regions has abundant grazing, but have serious problems with the market for livestock,” he continued. Muremi noted with serious concern the gazetting of Small Scale Commercial Farming Units in Kavango East and West regions, many livestock farmers are farming commercially but price discrimination as a result of VCF is undermining the investments which farmers have made in their farming enterprises. He added moving the VCF will accord livestock farmers acess to improved markets which they are currently seeking. “We are also calling upon the Directorate of Veterinary Service to complete the construction of Shamangorwa Fence as a way to sub-divide Foot and Mouth Disease prone areas into blocks. Our union will always support initiatives from the government which are aimed at improving health status of our livestock, since this will in-turn lead to our livestock products accessing better markets,” he said. KERFU also noted that since Meatco moved out of government owned abattoirs in the Northern Communal Areas, it led to total market failure in the entire NCA. The mobile abattoir which Meatco introduced in 2016 is not addressing the marketing needs of the farmers since it slaughters few cattle per week, leaving the demand for farmers to market their livestock very high. “Meatco’s reason not to slaughter cattle at full capacity at its mobile abattoir is lack of market. Another concern which our union have regarding the mobile abattoir, is that before its launch, Meatco was on record saying that prices at Mobile abattoir will be better due to low operational costs. This is not the case, what is currently happening is that they are paying low price per Kilogram compared to informal trader,” Muremi said. Muremi stressed KERFU is also deeply concerned with the scaled-down operation of Meatco in the entire NCA and believes that this is contrary to the legal mandate for which Meatco was established, and he called on Meatco Board and government to remedy the situation.
2018-07-20 09:31:03 2 months ago