Otjombinde farmers tired of frequent quarantine

28 February 2018 | Agriculture

Farmers in the Otjombinde Constituency of the Omaheke Region are bemoaning the frequent animal movement restrictions in the constituency, noting that such restrictions affect their farming activities.

The farmers, who spoke to Nampa in separate interviews on Sunday, said the animal movement restrictions enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, make it impossible for them to conduct their farming successfully.

According to the farmers, market-ready livestock waiting to be dispatched to auction kraals are often left at home as the restrictions are enforced without prior warning.

The animal movement restrictions, referred to as quarantine, come into effect whenever a health threat is detected in the area, especially when animals from Botswana find their way into the constituency.

The Otjombinde constituency borders Botswana on its southern and eastern side.

The Botswana district bordering Namibia has been proclaimed as an area of high presence of foot-and-mouth disease amongst animals, and any animal crossing over into another district thus needs to initially be placed under quarantine.

The animals either wander on their own through weak fencing into Namibia's Otjombinde constituency, or are at times moved in illegally by villagers, especially cattle rustlers.

Coming out of quarantine less than a month ago, farmer Dave Hangero is a worried man.

“Sometimes when one wants to sell livestock, the quarantine comes into effect and you just have to sit by and do nothing.

When the movement restrictions are lifted, the prices are usually not conducive for selling,” he said.

Another farmer in the area, Nguvitjita Hambira, noted that the frequent animal movement restrictions, while being of benefit in the end, reduces their income derived from selling livestock.

“The problem is that these restrictions mostly come at very bad times; such as when you have to send children back to school at the start of a school term,” he said.

Joseph Hangara believes that the situation can be best addressed when villagers avoid driving in cattle illegally into the country.

“We are the masters of our own destiny, as the saying goes. As such, we must teach our children to avoid becoming involved in these bad practices of illegally driving cattle in here. It really kills our farming,” he noted.

-Nampa



Charles Tjatindi

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