NAU applauds suspension of small stock scheme

The Namibia Agricultural Union has expressed satisfaction with the suspension and review of the marketing scheme for small stock.

07 August 2019 | Agriculture

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) has applauded government's willingness to suspend the Small Stock Marketing Scheme for a period of one year in order to find a sustainable way forward to put the sheep industry back on a growth path.

This was one of the policy recommendations made by the high-level panel on the Namibian economy during the recently held economic summit.

NAU president Ryno van der Merwe said in a statement that there had been a 40% reduction in sheep production and hundreds of millions of dollars lost to the industry since 2004, due to the implementation of the scheme.

In 2004 government instituted the scheme to stimulate local meat processing and imposed quantitative export restrictions on the export of live sheep from Namibia.

Currently the scheme restriction involves a 1:1 ratio, allowing for one sheep to be exported for every sheep slaughtered in Namibia.

The panel found that this scheme had not produced the intended result and should therefore be abolished.

Cabinet however directed that the scheme should be suspended for a period of one year to allow the agriculture ministry to thoroughly review it and establish an incentive to discourage the exportation of livestock on the hoof.

“We firmly believe that we need to find a sustainable solution in the interest of Namibia as a whole in collaboration with government and other stakeholders. Although cabinet directed that producers should not be disadvantaged to slaughter sheep in Namibia, this never materialised,” said Van der Merwe.

He further said that the charcoal industry is a growing industry and the decision to allow the production of charcoal in communal areas is welcomed and will provide opportunities for all producers to earn an additional income during the disastrous drought conditions.

According to the recommendations made during the summit, wood for charcoal is harvested mainly from commercial farms in central and northern Namibia.

There are currently around 650 charcoal producers in the country, however, the majority of these producers are commercial farmers, as charcoal harvesting is not permitted in communal areas.

The panel therefore recommended that bush harvesting permits be issued to communal farmers and that government avail mechanisms to assist the harvesting of charcoal in communal areas.

Cabinet agreed to the recommendations.

“A healthy productive primary agricultural sector in Namibia creates rural jobs and improved livelihoods, curbs rural to urban migration and multiplies job opportunities in the rest of the value chain. However, the opposite it also true when the primary agricultural production is destroyed; the total value chain, including input supply, processing and marketing, disintegrates,” said Van der Merwe.





ELLANIE SMIT

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