ORFU must be hailed for indaba to confront farming challenges!
On Wednesday this week farmers in the region of Omaheke converged in the Cattle Country, as Gobabis is popularly known, to ponder pertinent issues of grave concern to the farming community.
They particularly unpacked the plight of the rural farming community, a community that has been an important cog, if not the most important, in the mainstay of the country’s beef industry.
But with the onset of global warming, that in turn has resulted in successive persistent drought in the region and the country over, it seems the region cannot continue to harp and pride itself as a cattle country.
And the signs that things may not be the same again ever, have been there for some time. Telling from various continuous calls from many an observer and expert in the farming-agricultural sector and weather scientists for the diversification of the farming-agricultural sector.
This clarion call, which has been ringing for some time now, seems unfortunately to have been falling on deaf ears despite the drought, which again seems to be imminent, and which in some parts of the country had already had and continues to have devastating effects, drought after drought year after year, ambushing both the farmers themselves as well as government.
Those close to the country’s livestock production industry have been testifying to the ever dwindling export figures of livestock to neighbouring South Africa, which without doubt is a result of the adverse climatic conditions in the country over the past few years, and the attendant drought which the country has been experiencing over the years.
In December last year, almost prophetically, communal and emerging commercial farmers, meeting under the stewardship of veteran farmer Albert Tjihero, met in Windhoek to review the year 2018, and predict this year’s fortunes of the farming and agricultural sector.
The farmers, who have been meeting regularly in various places over the country to brainstorm on the challenges facing communal livestock farming in particular, and the agricultural sector in general, did and could realistically not paint any encouraging picture about the prospects of these farming sectors.
The outlook for this year, given the rainy season that is quickly coming to a close without any significant downpours, is in no way encouraging, thus there is no denying that the sector is in for dire straits.
The changing climatic conditions, especially global warning, that the universe has been experiencing over the last few years, a result of industrialization mostly in the industrialised parts of the universe, has been having its benefits accruing mostly to the industrialised world, with only marginal benefits and negligible benefits to the underdeveloped and exploited world.
Yet it is the latter world that seems to suffer global warming effects to the core with disastrous consequences as we have been seeing in Namibia with the persistent droughts. That is why the meeting by the role players in the Omaheke Region cannot and should not be an isolated one and - most crucially - not to be taken lightly.
Such indabas must be the order of the day for not their own sake but to meaningfully and purposefully address pertinent issues and find workable and practicable solutions to them.
In this time of economic decline it seems ultimately to be a game of the survival of the fittest. The survival of the fittest in this regard means those close to the corridors of powers with the rest, while the wretched of the earth are left to fend for themselves.
Among these wretched of the earth in Namibia are communal farmers. Last year saw Aminuis Constituency Councillor Peter Kazongominja and company, among them prominent farmer Ndangi Nderura, knocking time and again at the doors of government, especially the Disaster Management Directorate in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Their cry has been about the devastating drought in the constituency. Likewise drought relief, especially animal fodder or alternatively emergency grazing that the constituency has been dearly clamouring for has been long coming. The situation there cannot be described otherwise other than an emergency.
Self-help initiatives spearheaded by farmers’ associations must now drive frontally and address the problem like ORFU seems to be doing.
That is why one cannot but hail ORFU for taking an initiative in this regard. But such must be sustained.
2019-02-01 10:01:00 8 months ago