By Henry Chibulu WINDHOEK President of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), Raimer von Hase says the newly adjusted fuel pump prices will have a negative effect on production. Von Hase said his union has received the new price increment with disappointment particularly when taking into account it was being done at a time when the agricultural sector had started to flourish. “This is a blow to the agricultural sector because all prices of inputs will drastically go up, meaning that profitability is further reduced,” complained von Hase. He said the fuel price increase meant production and transportation costs would go up, thereby disadvantaging commercial farmers. He felt there is a need for the Government to quickly put in place control measures that would maintain fuel prices. He wondered why diesel is more expensive than petrol in Namibia compared to other countries in the Southern African Development Conference (SADC) region. “I don’t understand why diesel in Namibia is more expensive than petrol. Very few countries in the SADC region sell the commodity at a higher price but honestly government should reverse the trend if agriculture is to remain viable,” he said. Commercial farmers depend on diesel for production, he said, adding that if the trend continues, the sector would suffer major setbacks. Meanwhile, Von Hase commended the Government for being sensitive to the needs of farmers by facilitating exports to neighbouring countries. Because of this support, he said, the export of beef and mutton to South Africa has increased considerably, thereby boosting the much-needed foreign exchange for the country. He added the alleged outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Brazil has given commercial farmers an advantage as the South African government has banned the importation of beef products from that country. He however bemoaned the fact that productivity of cattle in some farms has gone down because of bush encroachment. The union that represents 2 000 commercial farmers is impressed with the high demand for and significant rise in the price of maize on the world market. Maize is now fetching N$1 400 per tonne from the previous N$400 per tonne and this development is good for the economic development of the country.
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