Agric sector calls for emergency livestock marketing support from financing institutions as drought looms
The impact of the current drought has prompted the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) to come up with an Emergency Plan.
According to the unions this week , the current drought is much different from other droughts in recent years as there is no indication of good rainfall in any part of the country.
This has a negative impact on the sector as farmers are forced to reduce herds in order to reduce the impact on rangelands, and often times they have to sell livestock at much lower prices, they added.
In this vein, the two unions including the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) requested an urgent meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
“Due to the outbreak of foot-and mouth disease in South Africa, no hay or silage can be imported to Namibia. We understand the duty of the Directorate of Veterinary Services is to protect Namibia from contamination and we support that. However, farmers are appealing to the government to look into the seriousness of the drought, because a serious need exists to import, especially lucerne hay from South Africa,” the unions said in the Emergency Plan report.
The three farmers’ unions also called on abattoirs to come to the aid of farmers by fixing the price for livestock for the next three to four months as most of the livestock currently on the veld is not fit for slaughter. A fixed price, they argue, will encourage farmers to properly fatten livestock before marketing.
Furthermore, the unions urged financial institutions to implement assistance measures to help clients survive their cash flow challenges.
“Such measures could include the postponement of repayment of loans for this year and subsidized loans to survive the effect of the drought,” the unions added.