By: Annakleta Haikera
Over 100 cattle are estimated to have died at the Mangetti cattle farm in the Kavango West. This was established after a visitation programme at the ranch in the Tondoro Constituency by Kavango West Regional Councillor Joseph Sikongo. Sikongo told The Villager that immediate intervention is needed to revamp the status quo at the Kavango cattle ranch in terms of management in the region.
According to Sikongo, since 2021, when the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) took over the farm, the livestock has been “dying hourly”.
Under the care of NIDA, the ranch has approximately 38 camps with over 12 000 cattle.
The community members and the Council have called for a solution to address the issue to avoid more loss of state resources.
The Kavango Cattle Ranch that is situated at the Mangetti Cattle Post 40 in the Kavango West, Tondoro Constituency, with more than 1500 cattle, has allegedly been mismanaged by NIDA.
Sikongo further said NIDA is not doing anything for the farm, thus, he believes more cattle are dying at the farm.
“I was shocked to witness cattle carcasses lying around at a water point well. I was told that NIDA does not have money to pay the employees and to buy diesel for the engine that pumps clean water for the livestock.”
Sikongo further said that the two Kavango regions are rated as the poorest, and had the farm been successfully managed by NIDA, it could have employed the people at Mangetti and also brought traders to come and breed with the cattle.
“My concern is there’s nobody managing this farm due to lack of funds. I want the management of NIDA to come to Mangetti and see the situation here. This is so painful. The livestock is dying. There won’t be anything left if they delay.”
When approached for comment, NIDA CEO, Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II told The Villager that the matter has been brought to the Board’s attention and is being treated as a matter of urgency.
He further said that on 18 July 2022, NIDA was at the farm, represented by their acting head of agribusiness, to assess the situation.
“The remaining parts are in good condition and fully operational with people at the farm and its animals. NIDA took recognition of employees’ concern concerning human-wildlife conflict, which currently exists at the farm and has also resulted in the loss of life of one of the NIDA employees in recent months.”
Furthermore, he said, the situation has made some of the employees temporarily vacate the cattle posts and with new management.
“It is the intention that those employees will be relocated to the original cattle post, including the cattle post number 40, to address the waning situation around the water point of the cattle post number 40.
There are elephants and other wild animals, which at times make it impossible for cattle herders to be stationed at the cattle post at the time. Elephants had destroyed some boreholes, which resulted in a lack of water for cattle at the cattle posts.
According to Gaomab, the agency visited the farm in October 2020 and December 2021 and conducted a full assessment of the infrastructure and animals.
A long-term solution is sought in terms of strategic planning, however, the community members and the Regional Council are calling for solutions to address the issue to avoid more loss of state resources.