05 Aug 2013 10:20
WINDHOEK, 05 AUG (NAMPA) - The livestock marketing incentive scheme as part of Governments drought relief emergency programme is not serving its purpose and is complicated, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said on Saturday.
In a Ministerial Directive issued on that day, Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa said specific issues and facts were publicly brought under his attention at a meeting with farmers in Gobabis in the Omaheke Region on 01 August this year.
It is also becoming quite clear that some of the criteria that were put in place for a farmer to qualify appear to be cumbersome, complicated and not easy to be complied with and, in some cases, even expensive.
It is my strong conviction that it is much better to do periodic evaluations as the scheme is being implemented in order to close any identified loopholes and shortcomings, as well as to take any required corrective measures now, rather than allowing such challenges to grow bigger, he noted.
Mutorwa thus called on the Directorate of Extension and Engineering Services (DEES) in all 13 regions in the country to supervise and monitor the practical implementation of the scheme.
According to the directive, MAWF Permanent Secretary Joseph Iita should direct staff members of DEES, who are tasked to supervise and monitor the practical implementation of the scheme in the 13 regions of the country, to submit succinct written reports by 16 August 2013.
Such reports should detail how the programme is being implemented in a particular region, such as its shortcomings, loopholes and recommendations.
Mutorwa also called on DEES staff to work closely with the leaderships of the farmers unions in their areas when compiling such reports.
Overall, it would appear that the scheme is generally welcomed and appreciated, stated to the minister.
In June this year, Mutorwa announced that Government would spend about N.dollars 50 million to assist farmers during the drought.
Under the drought-relief scheme, the Ministry of Agriculture has made provision for a marketing incentive scheme, a grazing subsidy when farmers lease land as well as a transport subsidy to and from grazing areas for farmers during the drought.
Meanwhile, the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) had already complained that Government is not fulfilling its promise to assist farmers during the current drought situation.
NNFU Executive Director Oloff Munjanu told Nampa last month that farmers are not happy with Governments drought-relief scheme, which is allegedly not being rolled-out as planned.
Munjanu raised the concern that Governments promise is not reaching destitute farmers, as application forms are not freely available and some agricultural extension officers, especially in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs), are not familiar with the scheme, and therefore cannot provide the correct information to farmers.
The scheme is valid from 01 March 2013 until the situation on the ground has officially been declared back to normal, or until the budget is exhausted.
The deadline of the reports to reach Mutorwa is set as 30 August 2013.