Livestock producers getting ‘raw’ deal
With the on going drought prevailing across large parts of Namibia, livestock producers seem to be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to putting their livestock on the market. For producers in the Northern Communal Areas, conditions are dire since grazing is dismal and an official marketing channel is lacking.
Wallie Roux, Manager: Research and Development at the Namibia Agricultural Union said that most livestock producers affected by the drought are getting what the Economist terms “a raw deal”.
“The reason is that the producers are compelled to sell their livestock due to a lack of grazing – hence the animals are not market ready and as a result the producers get less than they would for market ready animals and this does not only apply to the Northern Communal Areas, but the country as a whole,” he said.
According to Roux since there are no price support measures in place for the livestock producers, they are compelled to for what they can get, whether at an auction or out of hand. The only cushion the government has offered is drought aid to livestock producers. Roux told the Economist that the majority of producers in the country are affected by the current drought but he said it is difficult to put a number to the general observation.
“The most affected areas are the northern Kunene region eastward to the Kavango region, the whole western part from the Kunene region southwards to the Karas region, and the south and south-east (Hardap and Karas regions),” he said.
Last year a state of emergency was declared in the livestock industry after stakeholders and role players held a strategic meeting in Windhoek. This was at the beginning of the season but the industry was already in turmoil following three years of insufficient rainfall. Even before the 2015/16 started, the north-west, south and south-eastern areas were experiencing grazing stress.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism announced that it will organize the African Drought Conference from 15 to 19 August in follow up to its role as UNCCD COP11 President and to discuss the outcomes of the high-level meeting on national drought policies (HMNDP) held in Geneva in 2013.The conference will focus on identifying the specific needs of African countries in the area of effective drought mitigation, with a view to develop a strategic framework for enhancing resilience to drought events on the continent.
The overall objective of the Conference is to come up with an overarching strategic framework for Africa that to tie in with existing mitigation strategies.
The work of the Conference will be guided by an agenda for action white paper which will be circulated in advance of the conference. Mitigating strategies for livestock producers is slated as one of the specific points of discussion.