RUNDU - The executive director in the ministry of agriculture Percy Misika says livestock farming can be a major contributor to Namibia’s economic development.
There is, therefore, a need to deploy a complete paradigm shift to improve the northern communal areas (NCAs) livestock industry at all levels.
Misika made the remarks in a statement read on his behalf by Mesag Mulunga, the agriculture ministry’s director of planning and business development during an inception workshop of the European Union (EU)’s funded livestock support project (LSP) aimed at improving livestock farming in the northern communal areas.
Capacity building in terms of diagnostic services, surveillance and traceability through epidemiological activities and rehabilitating all animal handling facilities are some activities to be implemented under the LSP project.
“Evidently, we cannot continue with business as usual and we need to deploy a complete paradigm shift in order to improve the NCAs livestock industry, starting from the producer level right through the entire value chain. Farming can be a major contributor to the economic development of Namibia, provided that all our agricultural value chains are fully developed such that we have a diversified range of final products,” he noted.
“For instance, the livestock value chain can be fully developed to produce finished products including dairy products, dried, chilled and canned meat products as well as hides, skins and finished leather products and many other by-products.”
The ED further noted that the ministry is also seeking to revive the tannery (leather) industry in the country. However, the sustainability of the leather industry depends on the consistency of the supply of skins and hides by livestock producers.
“You shall agree with me that diversified sources of income in the livestock subsector can contribute significantly to improved food and nutrition and security both at household and national levels as well as to improved economic activity,” he said.
Misika said farming is a business and the LSP project seeks to support livestock farming as a business.
The project further aims to address and respond to climate change challenges, in order to establish a certain degree of resilience for our farmers. In that connection, LSP seeks to amplify fodder production efforts, establish feedlots, double the ministry’s knowledge creation in nutrition and rangeland management through training and awareness in the NCAs, he stated.
“The success of the aforementioned objectives can only materialise with our farmers’ buy-in, support and full cooperation. I, therefore, implore our NCAs livestock producers and all other key stakeholders such as Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) and cooperatives to join hands with the ministry to mobilise farmers to utilise these resources we are intending to bring to their disposal,” Misika noted.
LSP further claims to facilitate access of NCAs meat to lucrative meat export markets.
“It is, therefore, our expectation that NCAs livestock producers, as intended beneficiaries, will embrace, cooperate, participate and support the implementation of this project to make it a success,” he said.
Although the ministry has always been able to contain FMD outbreaks, LSP will also look at improving veterinary service delivery.
“This is long overdue, as a region, we have been experiencing challenges from poor rainfall, FMD, which is frequently occurring in our region and we also have a very serious concern about the cordon fence which is disturbing farmers from participating in the market south of the fence. I think those are the issues we need to interrogate,” said Damian Maghambayi, the chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Council.
Maghambayi also noted that farmers in the region are also facing challenges in regard to getting their livestock to the market as there are no roads linking them but makeshift pathways that are sandy and causing damages to their vehicles.