The Kavango East and West Regions were always going to be a source of fodder for the drought stricken farming areas further south and towards the west where farmers are almost exclusively dependent on feeding animals that will hopefully survive the debilitating drought.
Farmers are looking at feeding their female stock, lambs and calves in the hope of having some stock left by the time the new raining season eventually arrives.
From Mashare in the Kavango mealie rests are now available at around N$260 per rolled bale weighing around 210 kg’s and potatoes from last season at N$1 170 per tonne. This price normally excludes VAT and transport.
This week farmers also reported that the quality of certain locally offered full feeds for animals are under suspicion. It was reported that animals (goats in one case and calves in another) died from feedstock bought from a local producer and an investigation is underway.
Farmers are looking forward to a massive farmers day organised by Namibian Charcoal producers and bush feed machine producers and sellers at Otjiva Safari Lodge just south of Otjiwarongo this week to learn more about a number of possibilities with invader bush that previously robbed the farmers of millions of hectares of farmland that could be used in the worst of times.
Apart from growing markets for charcoal and a drastic upswing in exports of products derived from the problem invaders, new methods of utilising these bushes in animal fodder came to the fore lately and was taken up in a big way.
Mr. Frank van Zyl, from Hochland Tractor and Implements, said he is dealing in affordable milling machines that sold well this year, indicating the dire need for a solution, and possibly also pointing to a new thinking in the way Namibians farm and making use of resources. Sales shot up, but so did the feedback from practical farmers suggesting changes fit for local conditions. He sees this event at Otjiwarongo as particularly valuable for Namibian farmers to put their heads and experiences together and to up with new initiatives.
Concern is never the less raised about suppliers attempting to make a quick buck out of the dire situation almost all famers find themselves in. Transporters, feedstock suppliers and companies deriving their income out of services to the farming community in all farming areas in the country are under the magnifying glass with their pricing. Reports of overcharging by transporters and contractors supplying drought aid to starving households are also watched closely, while water tank suppliers and drilling contractors are often under discussion.
It seems there is money to be made from the tough times experienced in this time of need.