Helvy Shaanika Ongwediva-The chairman of the Mangetti Farmers Association (MFA), Ismael Shailemo, says there is a need for farmers in the north to be trained in rangeland management to improve grazing land in the north. This plea came at a workshop held during a farmers’ meeting recently at Omuthyagwiipundi in Oshikoto Region. Shailemo said the benefits of rangeland training were poverty eradication, wealth and employment creation and healthy agricultural production. He added that training was equally important for the beauty of the country that includes people, animals and vegetation. He says he and his fellow farmers want to learn modern farming methods without committing farming suicide and pushing themselves into deeper poverty as a result. “I am told that Mr. Venter and his team will certainly understand our plight and will, in turn, also ensure that our cries, shouts and thirst for knowledge and understanding of the dangers of overgrazing, overstocking, which puts more and unsustainable pressure on our land, will cause erosion and land degradation and that is like digging one’s own grave,” Shailemo says. He maintains that farmers want solutions and sources of support, education and facilities for improving the current status of their agricultural production and grazing. Recently farmers in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) have faced a lack of grazing because of the high population of livestock in the area. As a result farmers have been compelled to graze their livestock in other regions such as Kavango West, which in the past has caused conflicts between farmers in that region and farmers mainly from the regions Ohangwena and Oshikoto. Some farmers in the north are said to have as many as over 300 head of cattle. “I hope you will also teach us and educate us on the carrying capacity and the challenges of bush encroachment, bush invasions, bush utilisation, proper aftercare and rangeland management,” Shailemo pleaded. He further raises the issue of a suitable markets for meat and animals from north of the redline with farmers complaining over the years about unfairness and trade limitation in trading meat and other livestock products compared to farmers south of the redline who have access to the international market. “The other very important challenge that we face is the market. This is a subject that is causing us sleepless nights and hastening our high blood pressure and process of fast aging. “I cannot say much or else I will collapse and spoil the broth before the cooking even starts. This problem has been with us for a long time now; from the days when we were forced to call others ‘baas en missies’ until today,” Shailemo sternly but jokingly says.
2017-11-21 10:07:49 9 months ago