05 Oct 2018 09:20am
WINDHOEK, 05 OCT (NAMPA) The government must ensure that the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF), also known as the Red Line, is translocated to the Namibia-Angolan border within a period of five years.
This was among a host of recommendations on communal land reform presented at the conclusion of group discussions on Thursday at the second National Land Conference currently underway in Windhoek.
The gradual removal of the Red Line was among the topics that enjoyed prominence at the conference and also supported by the majority of the regions.
The leader of the group that discussed communal land reform, Alfred Ilukena, said the period of five years should allow for government to invest enough in veterinary extension services to control disease outbreaks countrywide, including south of VCF.
He noted that the period should allow for the establishment of livestock markets in the Namibian northern areas beyond.
For the time, Ilukena said that the government must rehabilitate existing abattoirs to allow farmers to market their animal and also compel suppliers to state-owned institutions to agricultural produce from northern communal farmers.
The current procurement act allows for products within the northern regions to be purchased at public institutions provided that there is a continuous supply of meat, therefore if the abattoirs are opened it will give these farmers an opportunity, he explained.
Ilukena further recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry start the process of removing the VFC to enable farmers in the northern areas to start using the quarantine facilities that should be introduced to complement the local markets within regions and to allow for the export across the Red Line.
There are currently over 1,6 million cattle and a combined number of about 1,2 million goats and sheep in the northern communal areas.
The recommendations from group discussions will be deliberated upon on Friday and adopted before they are submitted to Cabinet for approval.