Red Line should go: Iita

26 Jan 2014 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 24 JAN (NAMPA) – The Agriculture Ministry will do everything in its power to unleash and tap into the economic resources of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) in northern Namibia to benefit the communities there and the country at large.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Joseph Iita gave the assurance during the Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa’s New Year welcoming address and policy statement here on Friday.
“The much-hated VCF is still dividing our country with its manifestations and exclusion of the majority of our citizens from access to lucrative international meat markets. The daunting task for the MAWF through the Directorate Veterinary Services is to bring about equality in this sector by means of liberating the Northern Communal Areas (NCA),” he noted.
Iita suggested that the fence, also known as the Red Line, should go either physically or at least its appearance in whatever from.
The agricultural sector in Namibia is divided by the VCF. Marketing north of the fence differs from marketing south of the fence.
The VCF divides the north, which is a Food-and-Mouth Disease (FMD)-prone area from the south that is FMD free. Due to the FMD free status, meat produced south of the VCF can be marketed at international markets.
It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of Namibia's cattle live north of the VCF.
“It is our task and duty to do everything in our power to unleash and tap these economic resources to the benefit of our communities and the country at large. The road towards the economic liberation of the NCA may very well be a long and winding one, but it is not impossible. First decisive steps have already been successfully implemented,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the MAWF established a team at the end of last year to research the relevance of the VCF. Cabinet decided already in 2010 that Government should make every effort in the next five years to do away with the VCF and remove restrictions on farmers in the north.