Support programme to increase animals sold in NCAs

15 November 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

A new livestock support programme for the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) aims to increase the meat sold in the domestic and international markets to 1 315 tonnes by 2023.

According to a presentation at the programme’s inception workshop held in the Omusati Region, no meat was sold in 2016, which is the baseline year taken for comparison.

It further aims to increase the number of animals sold from 22 896 to 36 000.

Speaking at the workshop executive director at the agriculture ministry Percy Misika said farming can be a major contributor to the economic development of Namibia, provided that farmers also queue up in the value chain.

He said this includes farmers becoming dairy producers for various dairy products, meat producers and be suppliers of by-products such as hides and skins.

Leather

Misika said that the ministry wants to revive the tannery sector, but sustainability of the sector depends on farmers to constantly supply hides and skins.

He said this is in fact a business that livestock farming can sustain and it can subsequently improve food insecurity at household level.

He said access to markets is another strategy the ministry wants to aggressively pursue.

“We have now the support of the government at its highest level to enter into agreements so that procurement of meat and meat products is a reality, especially for the abattoirs in the NCA. This is why I said that the livestock farmers must now queue up for the value chain, no matter the type of product they want to supply.”

He said this will enable them to increase throughput at the abattoirs; increase volumes at the meat processors; revive the tannery sector; and access the export markets through Commodity Base Trade (CBT).

Eyes on Africa

Misika further said that they had a delegation to Ghana and Congo Brazzaville that managed to introduce Namibia as a potential source of meat exports to these countries. Further discussions are needed to finalise trade agreements with these countries.

“We are also trying our level best through this project to improve on veterinary service delivery.”

He said foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has an economic impact on the country and while it is a tough act to eradicate the disease, they want to work towards containing it.

Misika therefore said that capacity building in terms of diagnostic services, surveillance and traceability through epidemiological activities and rehabilitating all animal handling facilities are all activities to be implemented under this project.

Cooperate

He added that animal handling facilities are critical to be in good condition as they are used for vaccination campaigns and ear tagging, but most importantly to quarantine livestock for a certain period prior to preparing them for the markets.

“However, it is problematic to maintain them in good condition as they are prone to vandalism. Rural communities must realise that these facilities are there for them and they should be the foot soldiers to protect them at all cost.”

Misika further said that there is noise about the plight of livestock farmers in the NCA and that they are being left behind, but when projects are introduced in the NCA for all farming communities to benefit, Namibians do not work together to make it a success.

“Is it perhaps that we have the perception or notion that everything should be done by the project, thus we fold our hands and just remain watchful? We should not only focus on the project’s lifespan, but rather focus beyond its lifespan and the latter is what will make it sustainable.”

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