Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro Windhoek-The farming and agriculture stakeholders’ meeting held last Friday under the auspices of the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) in Okakarara went ahead as scheduled with attendance beyond expectation in view of the boycott by some members of the Otjozondjupa Communal Farmers Union (OCFU). NNFU’s national livestock coordinator, Vetuundja Kazapua, says he is not only happy with the attendance by farmers but also with the issues raised. He adds that all the stakeholders were present. He says the NNFU president last Thursday wrote to regional leaders of affiliates, among them the chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Farmers Union (ORFU), Lesley Kauandara, to indicate a convenient time the leadership could visit them and “if there are any issues within the mandate of the NNFU which can collectively be resolved, they be attended to soonest”. Since the NNFU congress last year, which brought about a new leadership, a palace revolution has been brewing with its affiliates from the regions of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke, who emerged from the congress feeling hard done by because the new leadership does not have representatives from their regions. The south also falls in the same category although their protest in this regard has been mute. Farmers feel because they do not have representatives from their regions on the new leadership of the NNFU, it cannot represent their interests as leading red meat producers in the country. The chairperson of OCFU, Ramana Mutjavikua, confirmed last Wednesday before Friday’s meeting in Okakarara this position of the union, saying they decided at last Tuesday’s meeting of the affiliates – about 13 farmers’ associations in total from areas such as Okakarara, Okondjatu, and Gam – not to attend the meeting in Okakarara. He said to date they have tabled about 18 issues to the umbrella body that as yet has not created the much-needed and desired platform to discuss them, and possibly resolve them with OCFU. He said they have written to the NNFU about their concern that it does not represent their views. Thus, it has been necessary to consult them before espousing any views lest they misrepresent them as meat producers. Mutjavikua cited the land issue claiming the NNFU was to attend the land conference without ever consulting them as OCFU. There are bread and butter issues that the NNFU needs to discuss with affiliates like his, OCFU, before embarking on and engaging farmers in information sessions, which are at this stage not a priority. Mutjavikua said such issues are internal to the NNFU and would thus need to be discussed internally to try and find an internal solution. But, albeit him, the NNFU has not created the necessary platform, which may compel OCFU to voice them on alternate platforms. He bemoaned the lack of necessary consultations pointing out that as meat producers, they put high premium on such consultations so that when the NNFU represents them as meat producers, it knows what to say in view of the fact that the NNFU is an eclectic union representing diverse producers, among them meat producers and croppers. The views and interests of the two types of producers although not mutually exclusive, equally cannot be the same, opines Mutjavikua. Meanwhile, the NNFU last Tuesday night also came under the spotlight at a meeting of communal farmers working in Windhoek. This meeting has been regular for some time under the auspices of the Harambee Vision 2030, an initiative of farmer Albert Tjihero. The meeting equally accused the NNFU of not representing their interests such as being implicated lately in rumoured discussions, together with the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco), to lobby the government to ban the export of weaners to South Africa. In this regard the meeting requested Kazapua, who was present at the meeting in an individual capacity, to urgently inform the farmers’ request for a meeting about the latest burning issue. This issue as well as the unrepresentativeness of the NNFU was also discussed at a joint meeting of the farmers and other stakeholders from the two regions on Saturday at the Sandveld Research Station.
2018-02-20 09:44:16 7 months ago