NKURENKURU – Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein has told northern-based farmers to adopt new farming practices, including intensifying the marketing of cattle in order to maximise its value. “We have to change farming practices.
We still enjoy large numbers of cattle in our kraals and perceive that as our wealth instead of putting that wealth into a productive value chain,” Schlettwein, who was addressing a consultative meeting with farmers from Kavango West on Tuesday in Nkurenkuru, said.
The meeting formed part of the roadshow by the agriculture minister to familiarise himself with the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the northern regions.
Schlettwein also added there was a need to educate communal farmers on the aspect of adding value to their livestock.
“If you have your animals in your kraal, yes you are a wealthy person, but that wealth does not spread and does not increase because you do not sell it, you cannot do anything with the skin, you cannot do anything with the beef, you cannot do anything with that animal that is not slaughtered,” Schlettwein emphasised.
He also highlighted to the farmers they need to start discussions on how farming practises can be changed to support the value chain instead of constraining it and running the risk of turning infrastructure into white elephants.
He, however, cautioned if nothing is done to revitalise the livestock value chain, there would be no growth.
The other issue raised during the meeting is that some farmers still prefer to slaughter their livestock with unregistered abattoirs where they reportedly make more money compared to accredited facilities. Schlettwein advised farmers to get decent prices for their animals while calling on associations representing the interest of farmers to craft a model that enables registered abattoirs to pay better prices for the local beef.