Schlettwein says N$15 million allocated for red line not sufficient
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein said the current N$15 million budgetary allocation for the construction of a border between Namibia and Angola is not sufficient.
Schlettwein while delivering the motivation for his ministry’s budget in the National Assembly this week said the veterinary cordon fence also known as the red line, in its current state is more than an animal disease control barrier as it has become a political and socio-economic barrier that continues to divide the country into two distinct economies.
“In order to address this, the ideal solution would be the construction of a fence along the border between Namibia and Angola, but that the N$15 million allocated for this purpose in the 2020/21 financial year is not sufficient to commence with the construction of a double-stock proof fence over 450km,” the minister said.
The main objective of this project is to facilitate access to domestic, regional and international formal markets for the agricultural commodities and products produced in the northern areas of the country north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence.
Schlettwein further said his ministry plans to implement activities that would mitigate the negative effects of the red line, which was one one of the resolutions of the Second National Land Conference.
Some of these activities include beef value chain development in the northern communal area, which entails the construction of abattoirs in the area at an estimated cost of N$75 million.
Another activity is the implementation of a livestock restocking scheme, which would have provided subsidies to livestock producers procuring breeding stock, to benefit 14 805 cattle producers who suffered heavy losses during the 2018/19 drought. At a 40% subsidy rate, the budget required for the scheme is estimated at N$118 million for bulls and N$888 million for cows/heifers.
The ministry also intends to carry out the Dry Land Crop Production Programme, aimed at enhancing crop production and productivity as well as increasing food security through the provision of subsidized agricultural inputs and services in the Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Kunene North, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions.
Meanwhile, the ministry was allocated an agriculture and land reform budget of N$2,2 billion, including a water provision budget of N$929 million.