The Namibian (Windhoek)

29 January 2013

Namibia: Farmers Benefit From Swakara Support Scheme

Seventeen communal and resettled farmers from the Karas Region were selected as beneficiaries of the Swakara support scheme, introduced in June last year.

The scheme allows for Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, to subsidise the selling of karakul sheep to communal farmers.

Five beneficiaries will receive 20 ewes and a ram each, while the remaining 12 beneficiaries qualify for a ram each.

The chairperson of the regional Swakara selection committee, Ben Haraseb, told Nampa yesterday that the beneficiaries will undergo one week's training on managing the breed before they receive their sheep.

"We received more than 200 applications, and we were only able to take 17 farmers because of the limited number of sheep allocated to the scheme," he said.

The next batch of beneficiaries will be selected next year, with the number of beneficiaries to be determined by the number of sheep available.

Preference is given to farmers between the ages of 18 and 70 with less than 30 or no Swakara sheep.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme at Keetmanshoop in June last year, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said the support scheme is aimed at helping interested farmers obtain kakarkul sheep at more affordable prices, as it is currently expensive for communal farmers to purchase these sheep.

It is hoped that this will result in the improved production of kakakul sheep in the country, as well as high-quality pelt outputs.

The breed costs about N$1 000 per sheep when bought directly from commercial farmers, but this amount could increase when the sheep are sold on auction.

They are bred for wool and hides used to produce leather products.

The newly-elected chairperson of the Swakara Board of Namibia, Raimar von Hase, announced this month that farmers in the north-western parts of Namibia will also be trained on how to breed with karakul sheep.

Karakul sheep have been bred in Namibia since 1907, with the first consignment of seven ewes, three lambs and two rams shipped over from Germany.

Nampa

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