SA Import Rules Cripple Nam Farmers

Communal farmers in Omaheke Region are said to be heavily affected by the new requirements for Namibian livestock exports to South Africa.

It is estimated that some 60 000 emerging and communal farmers are now suffering under the draconian animal health regulations put in place on May 01. On average Namibia exports 100 000 sheep, 240 000 goats and 400 000 cattle – half of them slaughter oxen – and 200 000 weaners to South Africa. The regulations will hopefully be revised by May 31.

The regulations stipulate that all livestock destined for South African markets must come from the World Veterinary Organisation or ‘the Office International des Epizooties’ (OIE)-declared lung sickness free zone, as well as that health tests on individual animals for certain diseases be done and that export-bound livestock be strictly quarantined.

Erwin Uanguta the councillor for Aminuis constituency said communal farmers in Omaheke Region rely heavily on cattle, sheep and goats for food and income and the new requirements have left many of them stranded as they are unable to sell their stock. With no livestock sales they are unable to send their children back to school.

“With normal sales of their livestock put on hold, many communal farmers are left with no other alternative but to sell their animals at prices far below the market value to pay for school fees and other needs,” he elaborated.

Uanguta says this also comes at a time when many farmers are still recovering from last year’s devastating drought which makes the situation even more challenging.

He pleaded that Meatco rescues farmers in the area by buying their livestock at reasonable prices.

However, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Joseph Iita, said the SA authorities have reassured the Namibian government that an amicable solution to the Namibian livestock export impasse would be found before the end of May.

In a media statement on Monday, Iita said a joint technical committee of the two countries has been established and the agriculture ministry held an urgent meeting with the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Pretoria last week to resolve the unilaterally-imposed stringent animal health conditions set by South Africa on exports.

Source : New Era