Staff Reporter Windhoek-More than 600 communal and emerging farmers could once again be deprived of their biggest annual agricultural showcase – the Okamatapati Show – if it does not rain within the next two weeks. Lack of rain and serious cash-flow problems for these farmers could result in one of the highlights, if not the highlight on the annual calendar of the Ongombe Farmers Association (OFA), organisers of the Okamatapiti Show Society, being called off this year. Confirming the possibility of a no-show this year, chief organiser of the Okamatapati Show, Albert Tjihero, says the financial burden on communal farmers has become just too much because of persistent droughts since 2013. “Circumstances beyond their control have made it extremely difficult for members of OFA as host to rebuild stocks, and the current financial crisis has left most of them cash-strapped and simply unable to face more expenses by transporting their animals to either Windhoek or Otjiwarongo for the annual Okamatapati Show,” Tjihero laments. To add insult to injury, not much has come of the expected good rains that were anticipated before the start of the current rainy season. Tjihero says the cash-strapped and drought-stricken farmers now have all their hopes pinned on plenty of rain in February and up to March. “Good rains in the next two months will be the decisive factor for many farmers on whether they will be able to take part in the show. It will be a disaster as we already had to cancel last year’s 29th edition and there is not much hope for the 30th show if we do not receive above average rains now,” says Tjihero. OFA has since 2013 been warning against this very unfortunate situation by appealing to commercial farmers and all role players in the meat industry to support its endeavour to stage the show annually and make it an event Namibians would be proud of. “We have since then struggled to get financial support from sponsors but times are tough for everyone and we had to cancel the event. The Windhoek Show Society demands up-front payment of some N$60,000 to make use of its facilities, and on top of that farmers have to transport their animals to the capital at great expense and provide feed for an entire week. OFA faced a tight budget having to raise more than N$250,000 for the show to take place. It’s just not possible to expect that from them in these trying financial times,” he states. OFA was established in July 1983, and has been a major influence as mouthpiece for communal farmers ever since. Tjihero says communal and emerging farmers have shown extraordinary commitment and dedication in ensuring the annual show takes place.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-06 10:19:06 9 months ago