RUNDU – Farmers in Kavango East have welcomed the new regional governor Bonifatius Wakudumo with a list of demands after he started work last week when he was appointed by the Head of State to replace Samuel Mbambo, who has been at the help of the region since 2013.
Farmers, through the Kavango East Regional Farmers Union (KERFU), said they lack feeder roads and telecommunication network in small scale commercial farming areas in the region in addition to lack of infrastructural development on small-scale commercial farms and they want him to report their demands to the central government.
Amongst their needs, the farmers want the new governor to fast-track the Uvhungu-Vungu dairy farm and the Rundu abattoir, which has been under construction for more than five years now.
“On-behalf of farmers in Kavango East region, I wish to congratulate you on your new appointment as the governor for our region and we look forward to working closely and strengthening the cooperation between KERFU and your office,” said the farmers union chairperson, Adolf Muremi.
“On the onset of your tenure, there are pertinent issues we would like to bring to your attention,” stated Muremi.
Muremi informed Wakudumo that Kavango East region has the potential and comparative advantage to be Namibia’s breadbasket in crop and livestock production.
“This has been the chorus for many years, but it is far from been realised. Honourable Governor, given your charisma, commitment and desire to see this region develop, we are confident your tenure will bring this chorus close to its realisation,” Muremi said.
The farmers also stressed that production at the green schemes in the region is far below expectation – and in their view, there has been little skills transfer to locals.
The farmers also want the governor to ensure the dry land cultivation program implemented by the ministry of agriculture should be intensified by increasing government tractors to the region.
“There is a need to come up with new dry land cultivation support programmes targeting the most vulnerable people in our region to enable farmers to produce food,” Muremi stated.
Muremi said KERFU fully supports the recent Cabinet decision for Meatco to operate the Rundu abattoir, saying it will create a big market for livestock farmers in the region, including for the Kavango West and others, thereby creating employment at the abattoir and the farms.
“Honourable governor, as you begin to prepare for your tenure as the political head in this region, I would like to make myself and the entire leadership of Kavango East Regional Farmers Union available to you, should you need any assistance in areas involving agriculture and farming,” he said.
In response, governor Wakudumo, during a press conference held at his office responded, saying he will indeed facilitate, through his office to the ministry of agriculture, see to it that the mentioned projects are completed and handed over for production. “The agriculture sector will provide employment if developed. If the Rundu abattoir is completed and operational, farmers will be able to sell their livestock, and so will the Uvhungu-Vungu dairy farm because farmers will also get the opportunity to farm fodder for these dairy cows there and by that employ workers,” Wakudumo said.