26 June 2012

Namibia: Livestock Farmers Urged to Diversify

Opuwo — The Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga, has called on livestock farmers in the Kunene Region to diversify their farming and do some crop farming as well.

Herunga was speaking at the closing of a three-day farmers' information-sharing meeting on different types of farming methods for the purpose of developing the farming community, held in Opuwo on June 19 to 21.

He said that in most cases, crop farmers easily have food to put on the table, compared to livestock farmers who first have to sell livestock to get money to buy food, adding that cows do not calve often and thus there is not always milk, nor can farmers slaughter livestock every week to eat.

"It is therefore very commendable that we should start combining farming to have a garden and also keep livestock - cattle, goats and/or sheep - to ensure that we keep our status and also have food at the same time for our families," noted Herunga.

He added that in the past, a young man was regarded as brave if he hunted and killed wild animals to feed his family, or killed predators, but that is not the case today.

"In our time, people are conserving, keeping and living with wild animals to make a living from the wildlife, and a brave man or woman is no longer a hunter who kills wildlife, but a person who strives to bring development that will sustain and benefit his/her community," said Herunga.

He commended the chairperson of the Development Committee of Ozonungu village, Tjakazapi Mbuguha, for initiating the meeting.

Topics discussed during the meeting included crop farming; chicken and pig farming; financing for farmers; a presentation from the First National Bank of Namibia; keeping goats and cattle; pharmaceuticals and livestock health; the usefulness of farmers' unions; farmers' cooperatives; a presentation from Voermeester, a livestock fodder company in Namibia on the usefulness of different types of fodder; marketing livestock and its challenges; as well as wildlife/human conflict.

About 50 farmers participated actively in the meeting.

Herunga called on Mbunguha to expand the same training to other constituencies in the region, especially Sesfontein and Epupa. - Nampa

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