NFU calls on government to explore alternative livestock markets

WINDHOEK: The Namibia National Farmers’ Union (NNFU) today called on the government to aggressively explore alternative livestock markets, as communal farmers are severely affected by new veterinary regulations from neighbouring South Africa (SA).

Late last year, SA imposed stringent veterinary import conditions for Namibian livestock, especially those intended for direct slaughter and feedlots there.

Currently, all animals have to be tested as per the new permit in operation from 01 May 2014 after the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedure, which came into play in that country.

The unilateral imposer of the decision did not give adequate space or time for alternative preparations for communal farmers, Vetuundja Kazapua said during the Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF)’s public dialogue on the future of the livestock industry in light of the new veterinary requirements by South Africa.

He said complying with the new export regulations, such as the testing of blood for Brucella, among other diseases, is a challenge for farmers due to a lack of camps for isolating vaccinated livestock from the rest of the herd before marketing.

Kazapua indicated that facilities and equipment to test animals’ samples in a short period of time is also a challenge, and so marketing activities such as auctions and the issuance of permits have come to a standstill and/or being cancelled.