Govt spends millions on livestock marketing scheme

06 Feb 2016 09:20am
WINDHOEK, 06 FEB (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has so far spent about N.dollars 19.6 million on the livestock marketing scheme as part of Government’s drought relief aid to farmers.
Responding to questions by Nampa on Thursday, MAWF Public Relations Officer Margaret Kalo noted that the ministry is yet to pay another N.dollars 25 million for about 1 542 claims made by farmers countrywide.
“The ministry has successfully paid for 1 794 claims so far and 1 542 claims are ready for processing. However, the number of farmers assisted through the scheme could not be determined as one farmer can claim more than once depending on the number of times they sell their livestock,” she noted.
Last year, Government came up with a number of drought relief measures under a N.dollars 74 million budget allocation approved by Cabinet to mitigate the effects of the devastating drought that has severely affected livestock farmers and marketers.
The relief measure came into effect as from 01 March 2015 and would last until the drought situation had normalised or until the budget is depleted, whichever comes first.
A livestock marketing incentive of N.dollars 400 per cattle for a maximum of 200 cattle, and N.dollars 80 per goat or sheep to a maximum of 1 000 small stock, or a combination of the two, may be given per farmer.
In order to qualify for the scheme, the beneficiary is required to submit proof of sale and complete a declaration that he or she experienced drought on the farm.
These documents should be submitted with a claim form for the marketing incentive to be paid out.
Kalo however raised the concern that insufficient information provided by farmers when submitting their claims made it difficult for the ministry to process the payments on time.
Details such as the branch code of their bank are required from farmers and failure to provide that leads to delayed claims during processing.
Farmers also faced challenges in this process with lack of proof of payment for out-of-hand transactions, according to Kalo.
This included when farmers sell their livestock to another farmer and payment is made hand-to- hand. Proof of such transactions remains one of the hiccups, she added.
Other incentives included that farmers who wanted to lease emergency grazing would be assisted by a 50 per cent subsidy of the lease fee to a maximum of N.dollars 40 per head per month for a maximum of 100 cattle.
The same applied to small livestock to a maximum of N.dollars 5 per small stock unit per month to a maximum of 500 small stock units. A lease agreement as well as a receipt for grazing fees paid should accompany the application.
Such farmers would be assisted with a transport subsidy of 50 per cent of the kilometre (km) tariff to a maximum of N.dollars 16 per km for truck and N.dollars four per km for light duty vehicle (LDV). The minimum load was 17 large livestock or 100 small stock while the maximum distance to be subsidised should not exceed 500km.
Meanwhile, in December last year, the ministry called on farmers to submit their claims before the funds are depleted.
The ministry said it budgeted only N.dollars 60 million for the livestock marketing scheme.
Only farmers who sold their livestock qualify for the scheme, while farmers who buy livestock for farming, speculation and joint venture purposes - with the exception of farmers who buy male breeding stock – do not qualify.