Jackals, Thieves Wreak Havoc At Southern Farms

Communal farmers in the areas around Keetmanshoop are complaining about losing their precious livestock to predators, specifically jackals, as well as stock theft.

A number of farmers spoken to by New Era say the predators are becoming more brazen as food sources become more scarce due to poor rainfall, and said stock thieves have become more active in the area as employment is limited and food prices soar.

Chief Agricultural Research Technician at the Gelap Ost Research Station just outside Keetmanshoop, Garrick Husselmann, has aised farmers to be more vigilant by hunting the predators at night and by setting spring traps for the problem animals. Confirming that predators and stock theft are a huge problem for both commercial and communal farmers, Husselmann also aised farmers to make use of watchdogs and to ensure their livestock is herded into protective camps or ‘kraals” before sunset.

“During last week alone I lost five of my goats to jackals. I have now started hunting them and set a number of spring traps,” said Immanuel Bock, one the communal farmers in the area. Other farmers indicated that they are quite reluctant to establish kraals close to the main gravel roads, which would deter predators to a certain extent, as these encampments have recently been targeted by stock thieves.

However, the Regional Crime Investigation Co-ordinator for the Karas Region, Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Isaak, disputes claims by farmers that stock theft in the region is on the increase. “Stock theft in the area is manageable as our Stock Theft Unit is constantly on patrol in the area,” said Isaak. He noted, however, that the problem areas as far as stock theft in the region is concerned include Tses, Karasburg and Aroab.

However, he emphasized that these areas have been quiet for the last few months. “The only way that stock theft in the area has increased is if there are cases that were not reported, otherwise the number of cases have definitely declined compared to last year,” added Isaak.

Agriculture is one of the foundations of Namibia’s economy, as it is a vital source of livelihood for most families in terms of food generation. Furthermore, it is an important sector as it is a predominant activity for job creation, a major source of income and contributes highly to national foreign exchange earnings.

Namibia’s agricultural sector is comprised of mainly crop farming and livestock rearing. The central and southern regions of the country mainly rear karakul sheep and goats. It is estimated that agriculture contributed about 7.7 percent to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product in 2013.

Source : New Era