Rukoro calls for a single, unified agricultural union
Rukoro delivered his plea for a single representative body for farmers before the members of the Namibian National Farmers Union at its recent 2014 congress. The NNFU Congress focussed on small communal farmers under the theme “small scale farmers key to household food security.”
In his speech, addressed to the NNFU farmers, Rukoro raised the fact that although farmers have categorised themselves into commercial, communal and emerging groups, the boundaries are still unclear due to the non-existence of a formal definition for these groups.
Said Rukoro, “An organisation dedicated to the well-being of small scale farmers only, for example, has a vested interest in maintaining a membership of small scale farmers. That inherently means you are looking for as many small scale farmers as possible and keeping them as members. But this is conflicting with the interest of the small scale farmer, who wants to move on to become a larger scale farmer.”
Rukoro added that all Namibian farmers are the same even though there may be some differences in philosophies, techniques and principles. He also outlined the need for Namibian farmers to have a common vision.
“We should stop dividing ourselves into smaller interest groups, because it does not benefit the individuals that make up those groups,” said Rukoro.
“Meatco believes in a future inclusive union able to accommodate all Namibian farmers in their diversity and stressed Meatco’s willingness to finance the cause,” he said.
He also noted that it would take a lot of hard work to get there due to the existence of many trust issues from the past, especially between those who are considered previously disadvantaged and those who are considered previously advantaged.
“If we are able to bridge these gaps of trust, and start to work together for the common good, it will not only be beneficial to the agricultural sector, but for the country as a whole. Then a unified agricultural organisation will be more than a grand vision, it will be noteworthy of our history books. That is indeed not a small task.” Rukoro urged the leaders of organised agriculture to view this not only as a task, but as a responsibility and a duty to unify all Namibian farmers. He said he looks forward to sharing this responsibility with his fellow leaders in the industry.
The NNFU congress was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Hon John Mutorwa.