Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro OTJOMUISE – Farmers from the regions of Omaheke and Otjozondjupa shall henceforth speak on their own behalf rather than allow the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) to speak on their behalf. This until the NNFU starts to consult them. This is one of the outcomes of an indaba of farmers from both regions at the village of Otjinene last Thursday under the Harambee Vision 2030 series spearheaded by veteran farmer, Albert Tjihero. But spokesperson of the indaba, Ramana Mutjavikua, from the Otjozondjupa Regional Farmers Association, hastens to add that this does not mean that they have decided to disaffiliate from NNFU, an ultimate they still need to reconsider. But they have come to the conclusion that the NNFU does not represent their interests. Substantiating this claim, he points out that about three months before the Second National Land Conference in October, they are not sure who is going to represent them at this conference because it cannot be the NNFU that has as yet to consult them in this regard. Giving the background to the meeting in Otjinene, Mutjavikua refers to a speech by Agriculture, Water and Forestry minister, Alpheus !Naruseb, at this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Meat Corporation of Namibia, Meatco, which was read on his behalf by one of the directors in the ministry and in which the minister was reflected as expressing himself on pertinent issues relating especially to export of livestock on the hoof to South Africa. “The ever growing trend of exporting livestock on hoof, that saw a total of 164,220 cattle in 2016 and 315,198 cattle in 2017 leaving the country, is worrisome, as it negatively impacts on the availability of livestock for throughput at local abattoirs. This situation furthermore deepens the triplets of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country. I am conscious that some farmers argue that they export weaners mainly due to the fact that they do not have sufficient grazing to grow weaners to slaughter ready cattle. This challenge is not insurmountable. For instance, government, farmers and the private sector can work together towards the creation of fodder production schemes, feed processing plant and feedlots. Alternative some voices hold opinions that live exports of weaners happen because there is no local slaughter capacity for weaners. As such, it is important to incorporate in your strategy the diversification of slaughter lines at Meatco’s abattoirs, to include weaners,” !Naruseb was quoted as saying. Lately, the president, Hage Geingob, has also been quoted in the media pronouncing himself in favour of the closure of the redline. Farmers in the regions of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke, livestock producers, have obviously been perturbed by the pronouncements of the two leaders. Pronouncements that against their expectations the NNFU has not expressed itself on. Not only lately but for two to three years they have been noticing the NNFU’s lack of response to issues of interests and concern to them as livestock producers. “The NNFU does not seem willing to reflect our views,” maintains Mutjavikua. He adds that not that farmers differs with the government’s home growth and value adding policy but such must only be implemented when other measures, such as the retainment strategy, are in place. He suspects that the push not to allow the export of weaners to South Africa comes from local abattoirs that have not been able to secure the necessary throughput locally which he says cannot be blamed on them as farmers but on the competitiveness of the abattoirs themselves. He also accused the NNFU of not having the “onjati” issue on its agenda. The Otjinene meeting also interrogated the marketing of livestock in the two communal areas noting their bulldozing by livestock speculators and identifying the need to “root out chance takers”. Regarding the perceived competition between expos in the communal areas which in certain communal areas are perceived to have edged out the traditional agricultural shows in these communal areas, Mutjavikua points out that this simply has been a matter of misunderstanding, especially in the region of Omaheke. He says this region can learn something from Otjozondjupa where agricultural shows are much alive, culminating in a regional showpiece. A case in point in terms of the said misunderstanding is the perception that the Omaheke Expo, which usually takes place at the Legare Stadium, represents the region’s agricultural show, which is not the case.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-24 09:47:55 3 months ago