11 Sep 2013 05:30
WINDHOEK, 11 SEP (NAMPA) The opposition DTA of Namibia has expressed disappointment with Governments slow and now non-responsive release of Government subsidies to farmers who have sold their animals.
Earlier this year, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Joseph Iita said a subsidy of 50 per cent to a maximum of N.dollars 40 per large stock unit per month to a maximum of 100 large stock units would be provided to farmers.
On small stock, Iita said a subsidy of N.dollars five per small stock unit to a maximum of 500 small stock units would also be provided to farmers in this ongoing drought ravaging the country.
However, Government announced a few weeks ago that they are putting a moratorium on these payouts.
The argument they are advancing is that richer farmers are going to benefit more, said DTA president McHenry Venaani during a media conference here on Tuesday.
He argued that if one farmer sold 12 weaners and another only 10, it should not make a material difference because the reason why the animals were sold in the first place was to reduce their numbers.
The newly-elected DTA leader stressed that whoever sold animals must receive payment, because the sales were measures to reduce cattle and stock numbers.
Now, farmers are struggling, and the critical and most-driest months start in August through to October.
Government has put a moratorium on paying out this money. How do they expect farmers to support their ailing animals on their lands? he questioned.
The party thus called on President Hifikepunye Pohamba to immediately intervene and implement the payouts to save farmers in these trying times for them to be able to feed their surviving animals.
Meanwhile, the DTA also urged Pohamba to provide Government subsidies to Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) land owners benefitting under the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank), and commercial loans component borrowers to be exonerated from paying their yearly dues.
Cattle prices have plummeted, and the drought has severely hit farmers to a point that they cannot afford to pay these loans under the current situation, Venaani charged.
He added that farmers received N.dollars 17 per weaner last year, but the prices had gone down to N.dollars 11 per weaner this year.