Government is experiencing challenges in implementing short-term resolutions taken at the second land conference in 2018, which is to precede the gradual removal of the controversial veterinary cordon fence, known as the red line.
Agriculture ministry executive director Percy Misika reiterated the fence has to go but emphasised the manner and timing in which it should be removed must be well directed to ensure it does not stagnate economic development.
“Unfortunately, implementation always has its own technical problems, but we are getting there,” said Misika.
Misika was speaking at a Meat Board convention that sought to discuss Northern Communal Areas (NCA) livestock and the meat industry at Ondangwa on Friday.
One of the resolutions taken at the land conference was to nullify the adverse effect of the fence to ensure farmers from the NCA and south of the cordon fence have equal access to the market and their pricing is on par.
Misika stressed charity should start at home, saying if the country wishes for meat to be consumed in other countries, then it should be able to be consumed in the south and other government institutions.
It was further adopted that government institutions procure their produce locally.
Government institutions have a 9.5% market share of all trading transactions in the agriculture sector.
Misika said that directive was met with its own fair share of challenges.
He said institutions had signed contracts with suppliers and were given a time frame to review the contracts and to require whoever they were contracting to ensure they purchase locally.
The other notable challenge is logistics.
Misika said there are no adequate central points, such as well-equipped quarantine facilities for buyers to purchase livestock and supply it to institutions as directed.
The executive director said there are also issues of transport and poor road conditions to bring livestock from the farms to the towns where they are required.
On its part, government in 2017/18 already commenced with ensuring that farmers have access to the market.
As such, abattoirs at Katima Mulilo, Outapi, Eenhana and Oshakati were renovated and handed over to companies and associations managing them.
However, that, according to Misika, did not solve the problem, as the entities managing the abattoirs have capital resources to purchase livestock.
“Even if they purchase the livestock, where are they going to market them? Hence there is still a need to open market outlets for the livestock they will be buying,” said Misika.
He said although the issue of the abattoirs is not moving, as government had desired, he assured that it is work in progress and they will get there.
To address the issue, Misika said there is a need to rehabilitate and renovate the quarantine
“The directive is there; the regulations are there, the facilities are there – the next thing we must focus on is to rehabilitate and renovate the quarantine facilities,” said Misika.