Swakara Spotlighted

All eyes of karakul farmers in the South will be fixed on the SWAKARA informationtraining week starting today at Gellap Ost, Keetmanshoop.

The informationtraining week will be concluded on June 19.Subjects for discussion are inlclude lamb potrayal, purchase of studherd rams, clinical examination of rams and use of mock rams. Participants must be SWAKARA farmers, be actively involved with SWAKARA (agent, farm manager, etc) and preferably also have attended a standard aanced course already. Mkore information is available from Johan Hartung at Tel 063 2232268, 081 2010679. Late enquiries can be addressed to Tobie Le Roux 0811272841, Jaco van Zyl 0813638318, Wessel Visser 0811287703 Pieter Hugo 0811278522.

Last year, a team of experts from Agra Professional Services (PSD) presented a similar and very successful Swakara information day at Bloemhof, 40 km west of Khorixas, in the Kunene (south) region. The Agra event was organised in cooperation with the local extension services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) to expose livestock farmers to Swakara pelt production as aviable farming commodity, SWAKARA is described as a multipurpose breed which produces pelts, meat, wool and fat. Van Zyl remarked that “SWAKARA sheep hold good potential for diversification. Commonly, day-old lambs are marketed, which relieves the ewes from raising lambs in harsh and dry conditions. If there is enough grazing, lambs can be successfully raised as well. These are usually quality replacement ewes while lambs with poor pelts traits are raised as slaughter sheep.”

Pelt and mutton production systems were compared. It was demonstrated that pelt production currently compares favourably to other sheep based production on the basis of profitability. Other benefits include lower risk, the sheep’s adaptability to harsh climatic conditions and also the growing demand for this unique Namibian product. However, there are some challenges, such as the fact thatSwakara sheep need to be sheared, which is costly and labour intensive, while the price for SWAKARA wool is currently low, due to limited demand. Furthermore, quality breeding stock is scarce and expensive. This again prevents many aspiring farmers from joining the industry.

SWAKARA pelt production is not new to local communal farmers. Back in the sixties, many pelts were produced in thesearid areas, suitable for SWAKARA production. As there is a growing demand for pelts, more Swakara farmers are needed in the industry to fill this gap. “The Swakara Industry needs more Swakara farmers to meet the demand for pelts,” says Wessel Visser of Aagra ProVision.

Source : New Era