Despite Squabbles, Show Went Ahead

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Corridor 13 – The Omaheke Regional Agricultural Show took place as planned despite withdrawal by the sponsorship consortium at the eleventh hour. The regional show was successfully hosted without financial assistance from the consortium at Corridor 13. It started on Friday morning and ended on Saturday afternoon. The show was initially called off on Thursday after the sponsorship consortium, which consists of the Meat Board, AgriBank, Agra, Meatco, Feedmaster, Telecom, First National Bank, Namibia Breweries and the Namibia National Farmers Union, informed the regional show organising committee that it would no longer grant the sponsorship of N$75 000 as agreed earlier. However, the farmers through their respective associations decided to go ahead as planned without the prize money. The farmers’ associations of Aminuis, Epukiro, Otjinene and Eiseb collected money on Thursday afternoon to cover some of the costs and allowed the show to go ahead as planned. The chairperson of the Omaheke Regional Show, Sir Kauandara told New Era on Saturday that the farmers decided to go ahead because they could not allow themselves to be kept hostage by the consortium. “The farmers felt that they started the agricultural show themselves even before the sponsors came on board and that they could still continue without them.” Kauandara said the farmers felt betrayed by the consortium, which in fact stands to benefit from the farmers. “The consortium should not see us as beggars but partners in promoting and improving agricultural products in the country.” He said it is about time that the sponsors start showing more respect to farmers, as they are the producers. “We the communal farmers are some of the biggest clients of companies such as Agra, Meatco, FNB and Feedmaster and surely we deserve more respect.” Kauandara, who is also the chairperson of the Inter-Regional Agricultural Show, said he also believes that the consortium decided not to sponsor the Omaheke show because most of the consortium members are from the Otjozondjupa Region. “Some of the consortium members are bitter because the inter-regional show in Otjozondjupa could not take place as planned and now they want to spoil all the shows.” The chairperson was referring to the show, which was called off after some residents of Otjozondjupa could not reach a compromise on the venue. Some of the participants wanted the show in Okakarara while others wanted it to be held at Okamatapati. The residents could not reach consensus and the show, which was supposed to take place last weekend, was called off. The Regional Councillor, Erwin Uanguta, who represented Omaheke Governor Laura McLeod also expressed disappointment about the withdrawal of the consortium. He said he was firstly disappointed with the cancellation of the inter-regional show because the farmers had spent a lot of money in preparing their animals for the show. “I am also unhappy with the decision of the consortium to withdraw at the last minute without taking into account what the farmers had gone through in preparing the animals, and all other arrangements.” The councillor however congratulated the farmers for going ahead even without the sponsors. “The indication is that the farmers are committed and have an aim … with or without the money and money is not the only key to achieve their dreams.” He thanked all the farmers’ unions of the Omaheke region who sacrificed themselves at the last minute to make a success of the show despite the problems they encountered. He also thanked the judges who volunteered to be present even at short notice. However, the chairperson of the consortium Kavee Rijatua said the consortium withdrew because they were informed about the changes at short notice. Rijatua said the consortium earlier advised the farmers’ union to inform its members that they (the consortium) need at least two weeks’ notice in order to prepare themselves. “We as a consortium also have our interests and need to prepare ourselves properly in terms of marketing ourselves at this event.” Rijatua said in fact one of the chief executive officers of the consortium wanted to attend the event and there was no way that they could make all the necessary arrangements in two days. “We want to sponsor united and organised farmers.” He added that he was extremely happy with the attendance and the quality of the animals at the show and that the consortium could have really got mileage out of the event. Cap: rijuatua Kavee Rijatua