Govt is ruining small stock industry- NAU President

Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) President Ryno van der Merwe has pleaded with the government to stop meddling in private sector business space indicating that this has culminated to the ruin of the local small stock industry. 

Van der Merwe was speaking at the recently held 71st congress of the NAU which was also graced by the deputy minister of economic Planning, Lucia Iipumbu. 

He said government’s role is to create a conducive environment for the private sector to prosper, yet the small stock marketing scheme has been riddled by restrictive measures which have caused declining numbers of sheep.

He said at the moment producers are looking at alternative options to survive which has led to the closure of two small stock export abattoirs. 

“The question is whether supportive mechanism, instead of restrictive measures would be a better option to achieve the goals of economic development as envisaged in NDP5 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” said van der Merwe. 

He further emphasised that all role players should get an advantage from the value chain, especially with the implementation of policies such as the value addition policy.

He said the agricultural business has become more complex and producers are faced with more significant challenges to produce sustainably and be profitable. 

“To be profitable, a producer has to be effective, knowledgeable, do proper research and must spend more time in his business. 

"Last year was an excellent example of where coincidences of numerous factors caused insecurity and put pressure on the profitability of agriculture.

Most of the factors such as drought, emergency sales, strict export regulations and the decrease in prices were out of our control and already negatively influenced the profitability of producers since 2012,” said Merwe.

He said Namibia’s agriculture is riddled with a cocktail of challenges that need to be addressed and these include, decreased in economic growth, socio-welfare and economic differences and inequalities must be addressed. 

However, the big challenge now is to come into full production, improve rangeland and financial viability, said the NAU president.

Iipumbu noted all role players should take hands in the process of economic growth and further encouraged the private sector to make use of the private, public partnership concept to support the government in the recovering of the economy.

According to Iipumbu, there is light in the tunnel about the recovering of the economy. 

“Each of these departments has certain objectives which must be reached by 2020 and the outcome for the agricultural sector is increased food production and food security. 

She especially emphasised the development of agriculture in the emerging and communal sectors which have a lot of potential for growth. 

She also pleaded that the animal health status of the northern communal areas is as such increased that the animals of these areas eventually comply with the animal health status for the export to other countries,” she said.