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Irimari begs govt to 'save' northern farmers

Tuyeimo Haidula
Oshana governor Elia Irimari on Monday pleaded with the agriculture ministry to reopen the Eloolo abattoir in Oshakati to allow northern farmers access to ‘lucrative markets’.

He made the request to executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata during the opening of the ministry’s week-long annual work plan and management workshop.

War veterans - through the company Kiat Investment Holdings - were running the Outapi, Eenhana and Oshakati abattoirs, which closed down in 2016. The Oshakati abattoir was temporarily opened in July 2020 by Kiat, and subsequently closed after the company found itself in financial trouble.

Kiat then partnered with Chinese company Ningbo for financial support, and the abattoir reopened in November 2020, but that too proved futile.

Abattoirs critical

Irimari said his biggest concern is that some of the abattoirs within the northern communal areas (NCAs) are still not operational, leaving local farmers without access to markets. Consequently, the livestock sector’s performance has been significantly affected within the NCAs, he said.

“The abattoirs are critical because the NCAs are home to more than 70% of the country’s population, who depend directly on livestock for their economic well-being and food security,” he said.

Irimari added that the livestock sector is also affected by low and variable annual rainfall, poor agronomic conditions, inadequate animal husbandry practices and significant market restrictions, mainly due to the presence of foot-and-mouth disease.

In response, Nghituwamata said the government is committed to serving its people and the ministry will do everything possible to reopen the abattoir.

She added that the ministry has initiated a process to terminate a leasing agreement with the Eloolo abattoir's current operator, and the process is now at arbitration.

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Namibian Sun 2024-07-17

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 474.53/OZ UP +0.25% | Copper US$ 4.43/lb DOWN -0.0068 | Zinc US$ 2 883.50/T DOWN -0.67% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 84.86/BBP UP +0.82% | Platinum US$ 1 016.07/OZ UP +1.34%