RUNDU, 08 OCT (NAMPA) -
The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) say there is need for Government to create more feedlots across the country to cater for farmers needing such service.
The farmers' body made the call during a media conference at the end of its three-day National Congress in Rundu on Sunday. The National Congress, attended by the NNFU regional leadership from across all 14 regions was held here from 01 October 2015 to 03 October 2015.
NNFU represents the interests of communal, subsistence and small-scale farmers countrywide through advocacy and lobbying for development of policies favourable to farmers and by holding Government accountable for the implementation of Government policy.
NNFU Secretary, Elina Kalundu told the media conference that despite being on the government's agenda, the implementation of such a noble initiative has been going at a snail?s pace. She said farmers will die of hunger as a result of the severe drought the country is facing.
"Once the feedlots are created, Government should then negotiate for the marketing of meat products locally. People should be encouraged to buy locally for the farmers to make an income from this," she said.
Kalundu said Namibia has to develop its feedlot system in order to produce meat and meat products to identified markets here in the country first before exporting.
She also complained about the northern regions that are affected by the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) since last year, stating that especially in the Zambezi Region, Meatco closed down and farmers have nowhere to sell their cattle.
"There are farmers who took their cattle to Meatco in Katima Mulilo in June this year and this is the fourth month the cattle are held in quarantine," she stressed.
Kalundu pleaded with Government to take certain resolution with immediate effect like paying farmers their subsidies on time and not delaying such funds, as farmers really experience difficulties.
On his part, NNFU Livestock Coordinator, Jason Emvula thanked Government for its quick response to the drought situation in the country and for making provision for a drought relief program.
The about N.dollars 300 million programme under the Office of the Prime Minister was implemented as from May 2015, through which farmers received maize meal and could apply for incentives as per livestock sold during the drought conditions.
"We the farmers however are just bemoaning the snail?s pace at which the drought subsidy is being done. Water scarcity is the main challenge towards the farmers. We are well aware there are regions within our country that did not receive rain for the past two years," he said.
Emvula suggested that Government extend water pipes to where there is some grazing, drill more boreholes and repair those that are not functional, as well as capture natural rain water through building water dams. This will prevent the loss of cattle due to water and grazing scarcity.