Another veterinary facility for Oshikoto
This week the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Hon Lempy Lucas at the inauguration of the Omuthiya Veterinary Offices said the government is in the final stages of finding alternative markets for livestock farmers.
The Omuthiya Gwiiipundi Veterinary Clinic offers professional animal health services. Previously farmers from the region had to travel to Ondangwa for their livestock to be seen by a veterinarian.
Livestock plays a major role in sustaining the 26100 households in the Oshikoto region., 43.8% involved in agriculture consider livestock production as their main source of income.
The Omuthiya State Veterinary Office will have its own two full-time state veterinarians as well as a Chief Animal Health Technician, Animal Health Technicians and administrative staff.
“The establishment of this office, together with other State Veterinary Offices built in the areas north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence as well as those in the pipeline, is part of the overall Ministry of Agriculture’s strategy to eliminate trans-boundary animal disease. The ultimate objectives of this strategy is to enable the relevant bodies to recognises theses areas as free from Foot and Mouth Disease as well as Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia” Lukas said.
Once disease-free status is confirmed, livestock will be able to be marketed anywhere in Namibia and the world.
“This in essence will be the unification of the Namibian livestock industry” said the Deputy Minister.
The Omuthiya State Veterinary Office takes care of more than just cattle and goats. Free vaccinations are available for pets to prevent the spread of diseases like rabies.
Lucas reiterated that livestock marketing involves the issuing of livestock transport permits to ge the animals to the market. The Namibia Livestock Identification and Traceability System, designed to handle livestock records and events will be fully operational in these offices and farmers can carry out transactions such as the recording of and applying for permits to move livestock. With the agriculture sector expected to grow by 4% per year, Lucas sees more farmers receiving support.
“However, the 4% growth can only be achieved with targeted development efforts, such as removing the barriers to livestock trade to increase the off-take rate, particularly in the communal areas” Lucas said. “No doubt if we achieve those milestones, benefits to farmers north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence will be enormous.” He said it is important for farmers to protect communal rangeland by adopting good rangeland management practices, maintaining appropriate and productive livestock numbers and scheduling the marketing of livestock based on available grazing.