Tragedy Strikes Pig Farm

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The only pig farm in the country is facing a bleak future following massive flooding over the last two days. The loss thus far already stands at 1 600 piglets that have drowned, while close to 15 000 pigs are facing starvation which could lead to more losses for the business. A worried owner of the Namibia Pig Farm in Mar-iental, John Endjala informed New Era yesterday that he was grossly unhappy with the situation, as it would adversely affect the pork industry, both in terms of its local supplies and loss of revenue for the business. “Some pigs are already dead and my worry is that if the outflow of the water from the Hardap Dam continues then it will be a bigger problem. It is really a big loss,” said Endjala, adding that even the troughs from which the pigs feed are submerged in water. The black empowerment business that has been operating well for the past four years at the town has now been brought to a complete standstill, as production cannot be carried out anymore because of the flooding. Damage was also inflicted on the equipment of the business, such as cars and tractors that were used for daily operations. The pig farm slaughters between 600 and 700 pigs per week and the meat is mostly meant for local consumption. “Pork has been banned in both South Africa and Brazil and we were the only ones sustaining the market. Now with this incident the entire pork industry is affected negatively,” noted Endjala. In order to assess the situation as well as the damage, Endjala was at the site on Saturday with his insurance experts on the ground. Totally unhappy with what he saw, the local entrepreneur was adamant he would commission a technical report to be compiled by independent engineers at the site, after which Namwater will probably be held liable to pay for damages incurred. “It’s poor planning from Namwater. The water should have been opened out steadily every day, instead of releasing it in huge volumes at once. We feel that Namwater is responsible,” he added further. As for the 60 permanent workers at the farm, the incident came unexpectedly, forcing them to quickly scramble to the roof from where they were rescued by a helicopter patrolling the area at the time. Unfortunately, Endjala added, the thousands of pigs at the farm could not be evacuated, resulting in some of them drowning. “There is no other place to take the remaining 15 000 pigs and the boats available are too small for the exercise,” he said and expressed the hope that the situation will soon get back to normal. The company has gradually invested N$21 million into the business and its capacity grew, having started off with only 800 pigs back in 2002. The Government Institutions Pension Fund GIPF is the main shareholder of the business initiative. *Meanwhile, reports from Mariental say that more than 20 South African trucks that ferry food into the country are stranded about six km outside Mariental since yesterday, while at Kalkrand an unknown number of trucks destined for South Africa could not proceed due to the high level of water at the town of Mariental. The reports also say that Government helicopters are providing food, water and other necessities to the people who are stranded, adding that it is as if “a small village” has suddenly mushroomed just outside Mariental.