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New Era Newspaper Tuesday April 24, 2018

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16 FARMERS Tuesday, April 24 2018 | NEW ERA Communal farmers say they are to blame for depressed prices Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro Windhoek A marketing morass. This is how the prevailing persistent situation of livestock marketing in most communal areas of the country can aptly and shortly be described. This situation comes a long way from the days of colonialism. Since, there has been little to zero improvement. Most of the time such areas are left to the unscrupulous market forces. These are just nothing more than a syndicate of white monopolistic buyers, determining the prices and rather than letting market forces doing this. At the sharp end of this are communal producers (farmers), a euphemism this day for previously disadvantaged communal farmers in crowded communal land, which are increasingly becoming agricultural backwaters, if not cattle herding backwaters. Even in this era when cattle marketing lately has markedly improved with prices reaching a high of about N a kilogramme in urban centres, such remains to most communal areas a distant dream with the best they can expect being a high of N$24 per kilogramme. At the centre of this extremely exploitative marketing system is a syndicate of buyers, mostly, if not all white, that like the historical partitioning of Africa at the Berlin Conference of 1884, have partitioned communal areas among themselves, buying cattle through a system of permits with only one buyer with a pre-determined price at any particular permit in any communal opposed to auctions when there could be more than one buyer, bidding for the cattle on offer, thus pushing up Permit day… the asking price. Because of the current marketing system, communal producers have literally been hostages to their own production, with their power as producers yet to be realised and tapped. Not that producers are without any blemish in their own continued exploitation. And their farmers’ associations as much, which seem to have been doing little or nothing in the face of the continued exploitation of their members. Muua Katjizeu from the Okakarara Farmers Association (OFA), speaking to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)’s Omurari FM last Friday, points out one factor impacting negatively on livestock prices in the communal areas, especially in the Okakarara Constituency, foremost the lack of cooperation among the various farmers’ associations and cooperatives vying for the piece of the cake as far as the marketing and selling of livestock is concerned. Divisions and competition among these associations and cooperatives compound the already complex and cumbersome livestock marketing industry, which Katjizeu admits cannot be for the weak and fainthearted. This is in contrast to buyers, predominantly if not only whites, who are well organised. The major obstacles according to Katjizeu are that there are only two buyers for Okakarara, who know their game, a game which has been to the detriment of producers (farmers). Attracting more buyers to the area has been impossible. For this one needs to have a certain number of cattle which most of the time has been negated against by the farmers themselves preferring to sell their cattle in towns where they can get better prices. If buyers have cattle available in towns there has been and can be little incentive for them to buy cattle in the rural areas, with the attendant disincentive of the troubles of transporting the cattle from the rural areas, and depreciation of their trucks given the conditions of the roads in most rural areas. “Thus the two buyers who are there have divided the area among themselves. The farmers themselves are in two groups, the associations and cooperatives. To make matters worse when able to draw the yearly calendar we could mix selling between the two groups but when the veterinarian started to draw it, associations have a month within which they sell and the cooperatives another,” relates Katjizeu. On this basis each of the two buyers buy from either the associations any given month with the other only buying from the cooperatives the following month. Meaning there is and has been no competition between the two buyers with farmers at the mercy of only two buyers who determine the prices at will without any competition. Meaning farmers are most of the time presented with a you-sell-or-go situation. Most of the time the farmers, cattle selling being their only source of income, are left with few if any choice but selling at the given price which by no means is determined by the so-called market forces, which in this regard are non-existent. And this situation pertaining to Okakarara, seems akin to most communal areas where prices are depressed and do not come nearer to those in town. This is a situation that is very much within the powers and ability of the farmers to change, but change seems to have been illusive, mainly due to lack of unity among the farmers. But there are some exceptions to the rule with Otjinene reportedly one of the areas where auctions take place with more than just a single or two buyers at a time, and thus competition and better prices. Gobabis agri-stakeholders meet today, Agribank responds Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro Windhoek The agricultural stakeholders’ meeting that was initially scheduled in Gobabis last month is back on track, taking place today in the very same town starting from nine o’clock. The meeting was postponed given some misunderstandings between the the Omaheke Regional Farmers Union (ORFU), which have since been ironed out. Vice-chairperson of ORFU, Peter have agreed in principle that there is relationship between them and that the one cannot do without the other. Provided of course that the matter of mutual concern was addressed. Kazongominja said the growth at home strategy must start somewhere like putting feedlots in place. Further, he said, focus on rangeland must also be cognisant of the fact that most communal areas are bushes today and thus the NNFU cannot speak of improving rangelands when there are no ranges. Thus it could help farmers by helping them with debushing. In this regard Kazongominja said regular consultations are necessary with members who all have their unique interests. Such regular consultations are also necessary to ensure that members are informed, even if only Because currently vital information did not seem to trickle down to the Meanwhile, emerging farmers who took to the streets of Windhoek last month to petition both the Ministry of Finance and the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, over their fear about the possible loss of their farms due to arears on the repayment of loans from the bank, are meeting for the first time since the petitioning. They are tomorrow meeting at their usual meeting point in Windhoek, the Katutura Youth Complex, at six o’clock in the evening. They are updating themselves on the answer to their petition from the Ministry of Finance and Agribank, mapping the way forward either way, whether there is a positive or negative response to their petition. In this regard all farmers who have a loan with Agribank for whatever farming endeavour are invited to attend the meeting. Meantime as if anticipating the farmers meeting tomorrow, Agribank has issued a media release in response to the farmers’ petition refusing to accede to most demands of the farmers. These are meeting each loaner individually, de-listing those blacklister with the ICT saying this can only be done once they have cleared their arrears or have successfully applied for consolidation of their arrears with the Bank; refusing to meet them as group saying it has always advocated for individual client engagements and will continue to promote this practical approach; and refusing to cancel its contracts with debt collectors saying it can use any legitimate channel or entity to collect arrears and has legitimately appointed debt collectors on specified-time contracts. Zero-rated VAT for cattledelivered to Meatco introduced Staff Reporter Windhoek The Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) Inland Revenue as from April 15 cattle delivered to Meatco’s export abattoir will be invoiced with zero-rated VAT. Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias, Meatco’s manager: Inland Revenue Department, saying Meatco would like to bring it to producers’ attention that: 1. Paragraph 2(aa) of Schedule III of the VAT Act No. 10 of 2000 provides that “a supply of livestock (other than game)” shall be zerorated supply. 2. The purchase of live animals (other than game) by abattoirs from producers constitutes a supply of terms of Paragraph 2(aa) of Schedule III of the VAT Act.

Tuesday, April 24 2018| NEW ERA 17 - - Sîsenao-i xa xoahe hâ K - Yello! PUBLIC NOTICE DISCONNECTION OF ELECTRICIRY SERVICES The City of Windhoek Revenue Protection and Enhancement is hereby informing all its esteemed customer of the planned and scheduled electricity disconnections for customers’ accounts due to outstanding monthly bills. This disconnection exercise will be carried out monthly every Monday to Thursday between 9 am to 13:00 pm. All reconnections will strictly start only after payments have been made, from 14:00 pm till 16:00 pm Monday to Friday every week. Therefore, all customers knowing that they are in arrears with City of Windhoek are encouraged to see to it that their accounts are up to date in order to avoid the disconnection of electricity services. NB: Refusal to permit access to the premises for disconnections, the City of Windhoek will ensure that other effective means are enforced to disconnect electricity services at any premises without a prior notice. Failure to comply with the above request shall constitute ground to charge you with an offence and you will attract the penalties referred to in Section 91(3)(b) of the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act 23 of 1992). Enquiries: Issued by: Office of the Chief Executive Officer Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Participation Tel: +264 61 290 2365 / 2044 Fax: +264 61 290 2344 E-mail: !Gãi-tses midure! It’s more than just a greeting. everywhere you go @MTNnam MTN_Namibia MTN Namibia +264 84 000 8000 MTN Products and Services - see Experience the Bright Side with these services: Dedicated Internet, Wired and Wireless Services, Global MPLS VPN, Mail Anti-Virus and Anti- Spam, Managed Firewall and Vulnerability Assessment, Managed Hosting, Microsoft ExpressRoute, Data Centre Colocation and Unified Communications.

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167