Namibia: Auctions and Crop Harvests Continue During Lockdown

31 March 2020

The agriculture and food supply sector is an essential sector that will remain operational during the lockdown, said Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein.

Schlettwein according to Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) said this during a meeting with the union leadership last week where they met to get clarity on specific rules for agriculture and the lockdown.

"Agriculture in broad has already been accepted as an essential service. Namibia is not able to control and manage an outbreak of Covid-19 should it start like in other countries? We thus ask the cooperation of all our members to act responsibly in this crisis," the union quoted Schlettwein as having said in its newsletter last week.

According the newsletter, Schlettwein said for instance if cattle have to be moved within the farm, it will not be accepted that the farmer drives because he can telephonically give instructions for this move.

"Families of farmers will have to decide where they want to stay during the lockdown, either on the farm or in town, because families will not be allowed to travel," said Schlettwein, adding that thus only one person per vehicle is allowed to move between farm and town and only if they have good reason which they have to give to the roadblock.

According to the newsletter, a list of 19 specific services within the farm value chain have been submitted by the minister of agriculture to government to be accepted as essential services which include inter alia auctions, abattoirs, feed, etc.

"The minister did not accept charcoal as an essential service, which means that farmers can continue producing charcoal on the farm, but they will not be able to transport them to factories or export to SA," read the newsletter.

"It has been emphasised that auctions are only to sell animals and no socialising will be allowed," it adds.

The union says for third parties who have to visit farms such as service suppliers, a third party form must be completed where the farmer confirms that he urgently needs these services on his farm.

"The same form can also be used if the farmer send a family member or worker to do work for him. This forms can be downloaded on our website," the union said.

Furthermore, the union said government undertook to give the latest information continuously and as soon as it is received, the union will inform members accordingly.

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