New Era (Windhoek)

18 January 2013

Namibia: Farmers Learn Money Management

Windhoek — The business of farming was one of many topics at this week's two-day gathering for livestock farmers from the Oshikoto and Omusati regions residing in Windhoek.

One of the prominent topics centred on the importance of managing the cash flow of farmers, since the actual generation of revenue only occurs about three to four times a year.

The farmers where made aware and informed about the importance of solid business principles in farming.

"Any business, including farming, needs money to pay for tools, seeds for crop production, diesel for pumping water, lick, ear tags, the transportation of diesel or animals, vaccines and medicines, a new bull or ram, or young animals for breeding," the farmers were told.

The event was co-hosted by GOPA Consultants, the leading German development consulting firm and one of the strongest consulting groups in Europe, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Namibia National farmers Union, the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC).

Emphasis was put on the business of farming since the income from farming must provide for all expenses on the farm. It was also stressed that successful communal farmers are those who sell livestock regularly, instead of holding onto the livestock, and using the income generated to pay for the improvements and maintenance of water points and other expenses on the land.

Attendants at the meetings were informed that the selling price clearly makes a difference, but the businesses that buy livestock also have to consider what the consumer is prepared to pay, and what kind of meat they want. "The consumers' notion of good quality meat may differ from that of the farmers. Agents that buy and sell meat, such as Meatco, try to establish what the consumer wants and how much they are willing to pay for it.

"They also inform consumers of the superior quality of meat produced in Namibia and he fact that our meat is healthy. It is not always easy to influence consumers who can choose meat from all over the world, however, and it is a fact that Namibian farmers have to compete with farmers from other countries," it was noted at the meeting.

The importance of saving beforehand was also emphasised. "If one does not have the full amount needed, borrowing the balance is safer than borrowing the whole amount required over a long period. The interest on small amounts over a shorter period of time is much less costly to the farmer," the farmers were told.

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