• June 3rd, 2020

Northern agricultural agreements key to tackle redline barriers

Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) are key instruments to governing international trade, and reflect a balance between political and economic objectives within the country. The level of liberalization in the Namibia agriculture sector can differ substantially across negotiated agreements, and even across products within the same agreement.

The redline, also referred to as the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) is a colonial “economic” fence separating northern Namibia from the central and southern parts of the country. It encases several northern regions.

South of the fence, there are commercial farms where the farmers, mainly white farmers own more than 70 percent of the commercial land. North of the line, on the other hand, all farmland is communal and operated mostly by black poor farmers.  Considering the negative effects of the redline on communal farmers from the northwest, northern and north eastern regions of Namibia such as Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, the Okavango, and including the Zambezi Region who are not allowed to market and sell their agricultural fresh produce south of the so called “redline” I therefore suggest that regional agricultural trade integration initiatives within these regions should be strongly manifested. Be that it may, the redline has negatively affected emerging productive communal farmers in these great regions who could make a meaningful contribution to Namibia’s economy. It is evident that, due to the fact that, those farming in the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) area cannot export their cattle or meat products including their fresh agricultural produce to the south of the veterinary line or to overseas markets because the area has not been declared free of animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease that might jeopardise the lucrative European meat production market Namibia currently enjoys.

 It’s observable with great concern that, the government of Namibia is so reluctant to intervene. Therefore, northern regional agricultural agreements should be crafted which will smoothly facilitate regional trade in these regions in the area of agriculture. We cannot preach about achieving food security status in our country if we continue neglecting these areas due to colonial laws which were created in 1897 to advance the interests of the white colonial masters. 

If the Zambezi Region is good with maize production, and the “four O regions” with mahangu production or Okavango’s horticulture potential, let’s heavily trade with each other for mutual benefits. I as well suggest for the establishment of the Communal Agricultural Bank of Namibia (CABoN) to finance agricultural projects in these areas considering the reluctance of commercial banks to finance communal agricultural production without collateral security. Reagan * Munyungano Musisanyani, is a food security activist, Windhoek.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-28 10:14:23 | 11 months ago

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