Virus severely pelts Swakara farmers

Out of 30 621 total pelts on offer, only 3 228 pelts were sold via the electronic auction held at Copenhagen Fur in April.

31 August 2020 | Business

In order to revive and sustain the Swakara industry, role players including government should invest in skills and infrastructure development for Swakara producers. - Agribank

Swakara farmers have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the largest crisis being a lack of cash flow, the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) has said.

In a media statement Agribank said the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing difficult conditions such as a drastic decrease in price due to turmoil in the global fur market and the global economic situation.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a scheduled April 2020 auction being migrated to an electronic platform.

“Local and international borders were closed and out of the 30 621 total pelts on offer, only 3 228 pelts were sold via the electronic auction held at Copenhagen Fur on 22 April 2020. Some pelts were deferred to the September auction,” the statement said.

It further said since production continues in anticipation of the next auction, farmers might produce more pelts than they could market, or they may face pelt storage challenges such as prolonged storage and spoilage of pelts.

Incentives needed

“In order to revive and sustain the Swakara industry, role players including government should invest in skills and infrastructure development for Swakara producers. This includes promoting the youth to venture in this unique and valuable business for the country,” Agribank advised.

It further noted that attractive production and marketing incentives for farmers will be important to ensure the sustainability of the industry and that this could be an opportunity for Agribank to inject financial resources into the Swakara farming production system in order to revive the industry.

Swakara farming is prominently undertaken in the Hardap and //Kharas regions.

The statement said the regions’ climatic and rangeland conditions are characteristic of arid environments, with erratic and little rainfall and extreme temperatures. The Swakara sheep is a robust breed, able to thrive despite the dry desert conditions in the //Kharas and the Hardap regions of Namibia.

Agribank said in some parts, conditions are so harsh that no other livestock or crop can be profitably cultivated but Swakara, thriving as a perfect product in the harsh conditions. - Nampa

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