Auction delayed by king's death

The first-ever professional auction for the farmers of the Mangetti has been postponed following the death of the Ondonga king.

03 April 2019 | Agriculture

The death of King Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas last week has led to the postponement of the first-ever professional auction that was to have taken place at the Okapya Livestock Development Centre (LDC) in the Mangetti farming area this past weekend.

Mangetti Farmers' Association (MFA) chairperson Ismael Shailemo told Namibian Sun they decided to postpone the auction until 27 April.

Shailemo said the Mangetti farming area falls under the Onalusheshete district of the Ondonga Traditional Authority and the traditional community is still mourning the king.

“We have already communicated to all our stakeholders that we have postponed the auction. We are farming under the jurisdiction of the Ondonga and the majority of our farmers are from Ondonga communities, therefore as an association we have to respect the culture. We will wait until the king is laid to rest before we continue with our planned auction,” said Shailemo.

The MFA has urged its members to sell some of their cattle because of the ongoing drought.

The area loses about 60 000 cattle a year to sickness and drought and the number is expected increase significantly because of this year's drought.

The agriculture ministry has approved that the MFA uses its cattle-handling facilities at the Okapya LDC for its planned auction.

There are close to 200 000 cattle in this area that are at risk because of the drought.

The MFA's Thomas Ndiwakalunga said after observing that the rain patterns in the area were not good, they decided to write a letter to the ministry in January about the use of the cattle-handling facilities for an auction.

“These facilities will better the situation for the farmers. Over the past years farmers used to suffer whenever they want to sell their livestock, as they couldn't because there were no facilities for them to do so.

“Looking at the drought situation the farmers may face this year, as an association we decided to look for facilities to assist the farmers sell,” said Ndiwakalunga.

“We are thankful to the ministry for what it has done for us. As farmers we must now start looking for buyers and the association is also looking for buyers.”

The association has also planned an auction for 6 May.

The Okapya centre's caretaker, Tuhafeni Sheuyange, told the farmers that government had provisionally approved their use the facilities and after the first auction the ministry will decide their fate.

“These facilities were established as cattle-handling facilities and not for auctions. The association will therefore improve the facilities so that they will be suitable for auction purposes. You therefore need to prove to the government that you are serious and that you are also able to maintain the facilities,” said Sheuyange.

A 12-member committee has been appointed to facilitate the auction and help the association to maintain the facilities. The committee is chaired by Veiko Namwoonde and the secretary is Sunday Shalli.

The other members are Julius Ambondo, Silvanus Haufiku, Paulus Shilongo, Daniel Ngesheya, Padelia Nghishongwa, John Shilongo, Veiko Andjamba, Kamukwatange, Itoolwa Josef and Kennedy Iyambo.

Farmers are requested to take their cattle to Okapya for auction, accompanied by relevant documents, on 26 April.

ILENI NANDJATO

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