Farmers to involve workers in security

14 June 2018 | Agriculture

Commercial farmers, who are faced with increasing attacks and poaching incidents, have discussed plans to increase farm security by involving their workers.

This and other discussions relating to commercial farming were held on Monday at the Agricultural Employers' Association congress in Windhoek

Faan Oosthuizen from Intelligence Support Against Poaching (ISAP) said farmworkers could either be involved in safeguarding farms or be a security risk.

He said when farmers employ new workers they must select them carefully and look at their references, while applying the proper labour practices.

According to him farmers should also look at the character of the person they want to employ.

Oosthuizen said farmers should request a police clearance certificate from a potential worker, give the new worker a job description and inform them of what is expected.

He added that farmers should be fair to their workers, and there should be mutual respect.

Oosthuizen also stressed that farmers would have to safeguard their farms, adding there are four lines of defence.

He said the first line of defence is the house itself and alarm systems.

The second line of defence is the fencing around the house, dogs, and farmworkers' houses.

The third line is the people on the farm, while the fourth line of defence is the people outside it.

According to him the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) had taken the initiative some time ago to promote rural safety and he had offered two training courses already.

Schalk Pienaar from Pupkewitz Holdings spoke about a career in agriculture and how the sector can get young people back into farming.

“Farming is not only work but also to enjoy what you do and this is also coupled with labour, sweat and struggle. Young people today call it labour-intensive and they struggle to get skilled workers and they are far away from cities and it takes a lot of capital to start.”

Pienaar said it was important that the farming sector continue to produce food for the country.

“We should try and attempt to make young people interested in agriculture.

We will have to look at what can be done to improve the status of employees and that they also feel important and have some security for the future.”

The congress agreed that the older generation should hand their farms over to young farmers and make provision for their own future. “Financial survival and profitability in farming is important for young farmers.

There is a world tendency that more and more farmers are farming part-time.”

IJG Namibia managing director René Olivier said farms are businesses and a business must have sustainable and competing values.

According to Olivier farmers do not have control over certain aspects, such as droughts, meat prices and the weather, but they do have control over the management of their farms.

“If there is a drought, animals can be bought cheaply. Farmers should invest in their farm but also have to look at their balance sheets.”

He also stressed if a farm stayed in a family, it must be ensured that the next generation can farm sustainably.

The congress agreed that if farmers complained continuously, the younger generation would not be interested in farming.

Helmut Förtsch was re-elected as AEA chairperson during the congress.

ELLANIE SMIT

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