IN a bid to create widen markets and better markets for livestock formers in Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) above the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), Redline, the ministry of Agriculture launched the Livestock Sector Transformation strategy.
The strategy which is funded by government, the EU and GIZ to a tune of N$280 million will see the construction of abattoirs, meat processing plants and water supply facilities to improve the output of livestock production in areas above the redline.
Reading the statement on behalf of minister of agriculture, Percy Misika, executive director at the ministry raised concerns that the agriculture’s contribution to the national economy has fallen below 4% of GDP.
He added government is aware that the livestock economy in the eight Northern regions has huge potential to help Namibia achieve its economic objectives set out in NDP5.
Misika further stated that the NCAs have the highest rural Namibian and rural population, the highest number of animals and the largest unemployment.
He added that these sector has been bedeviled by low productivity due to deteriorating rangeland and an unfavourable animal status characterized by increased frequency of occurance of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the Zambezi region, and the increased risk of FMD outbreaks in the rest of the northern regions.
This status is an impediment to gaining access to high value markets.
Misika however stated that this risks must be managed to ensure that meat from the Northern regions has at the very least access to local and national domestic markets, and if there is surplus, export to markets without onerous sanitary requirements.
He added that government will change this situation by developing formal markets for livestock in the form of new abattoirs in Rundu and Outapi, and meat processing facilities in Rundu and Ongwediva.
In addition, Misika stated that there are ongoing projects to restore the abattoirs in Oshakati and Katima Mulilo.
He stated that with the support from the meat board, the ministry has reviewed the management of FMD outbreaks in the infected zone, the Zambezi region, parts of Kavango East region, the protection zone and the rest of the northern regions.
“While we are working on building an international livestock defence fence along the Border of Angola and Namibia, we should ensure that livestock farmers in these regions are included”. Misika said.