The Namibian (Windhoek)

28 June 2013

Namibia: Illegal Farmers Want to Negotiate

THE Mangetti Farmers Association (MFA) under the leadership of Ismael Shailemo has appealed to the government not to remove by force the farmers who illegally invaded Tsumkwe but first to hear their side of the story.

In a press release issued yesterday and signed by Shailemo, the MFA requested the government not to use force to remove the farmers from Tsumkwe.

“We are suggesting that before the set deadline expires all stockholders, such as the Ministry of Safety and Security, the traditional authorities in Tsumkwe, the farmers and any others willing to solve the dispute, must come together,” the statement said.

When he officially opened the annual conference for Special Field Force members at Ondangwa on Monday this week, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga called on all farmers from Oshikoto, Oshana, Otjozondjupa and some from Khomas regions who invaded and are grazing their cattle illegally in Tsumkwe west constituency, to vacate that area before 6 July.

If they fail to do so they will face the law, because it is a communal area which belongs to a specific traditional authority, he said.

Ndeitunga said all farmers who invaded the area illegally violated the law and the rights of that traditional authority and the members of that traditional authority and need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

The Mangetti farmers also welcomed the government's N$218 million drought plan with reservations that is divided into marketing scheme, lease of grazing land, transport of animals to better grazing and water supply.

“This is too little though not too late. Our calculations give us that at the restocking period, a farmer who sold 50 head of cattle will only be able to buy three head of cattle with the subsidy given,” the statement said.

The farmers appealed to the government to increase the cattle marketing relief amount from N$300 to N$500 per head sold and N$100 per small stock sold. This will allow a farmer who sold 50 head of cattle a chance to buy back at least five cattle at restocking period.

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