Farmers wants Govt to revisit old policies

16 Feb 2016 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 16 FEB (NAMPA) - Farmers want the government to revisit legislation that they feel are not in sync with farmers' needs.
Legislation such as the Drought Relief Response Plan, Meat Industry Act and the continued presence of the 'Red Line' need an urgent revisit, Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) president, Tobias Emvula told President Hage Geingob on Tuesday when he and his entourage paid a courtesy on him at State House.
“Namibia is still a relatively young country and is still burdened with some outdated and archaic legislation and discriminatory arrangements,” Emvula said.
He said as a non-State actor, the NNFU stands ready to assist through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to identify policies that are not in sync with farmers’ needs and offer evidence-backed proposals to reform them.
“As part of our strategic plan that runs from 2016-2020, we have prioritised unpacking Government policies and taking them out to the masses for them to understand them and where necessary, give feedback to the line ministry,” said Emvula without elaborating on which policies he was referring to.
He also expressed concern about the continued division of the farming community along largely racial lines.
“As NNFU, we represent the predominantly non-white community and Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) enjoys a white dominated membership. These are facts,” he said, adding that this division fragments the voice of farmers and presents a challenge to the government, as it has to deal with two seemingly competing stakeholders who should in fact be representing the same community.
“Our belief is that farmers are just farmers regardless of whether they are white or non-white, commercial or communal. This continued divide has in the past led to development of initiatives and institutional arrangements that are divisive and selective.”
He called on the NAU to initiate a unification of the farming community's voice, while also calling on Government to assist and facilitate the process of unification by encouraging the white community to join hands for the benefits of all farmers in Namibia.
On his part, Geingob called on the farmers to pull together in the same direction to eradicate poverty in Namibia.
“Let us fight urban and rural hunger by contributing to the envisaged Food Bank. We need to support rural farmers with ploughing systems, the installation of solar systems and build food storages in rural areas,” said Geingob.
Efforts to get comment from the NAU on the said 'division of the farming community along largely racial lines,' proved futile as the union's office number went unanswered.