Governor Calls for Grazing Tax

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

Kunene Regional Governor Dudu Murorua says the Government should consider introducing a grazing in communal areas.

Murorua said last week the levy, part of which would be put into a trust fund, would help the Government and farmers in times of emergencies like this year’s drought. He said the levy would come handy in buying, among others, licks and fodder for cattle.

With this year’s drought, which has especially affected more than 200 000 cattle in Kunene north, many farmers are not happy with the Government’s decision only to subsidize 50 percent of the cost of transportation of cattle to registered abattoirs and quarantine camps.

Morurua said, “If we had a grazing levy, we could use part of the money to pay for an inspector who would go round and count the cattle and also put part of it in a trust fund account to cater for emergencies.”

The number of cattle would be a good yardstick for measuring how much fodder the Government should provide and for which farms.

However, Murorua was quick to say this has to carry the consent of the traditional authorities and Cabinet.

“We will check the feelings of the people and then see how to approach this issue and strategize.

“We need to know what we are going to do next time drought occurs. This is one of the options we could look at,” he said.

He concurred with farmers and representatives of farmers’ unions that the best intervention the farmers need this year is provision of fodder, although this may involve limiting the number of cattle.

Farmers have complained that due to inadequate grazing, their cattle are fetching very low prices, making some farmers to rather keep their livestock than sell them.

In addition, the governor said communal areas need farm management skills for them to improve the quality of livestock on their farms. This, he said, would go hand in hand with a financial discipline course.

He said one of the things that the governor thinks the country needs is to start VAT training for communal farmers for them to contribute to the revenue base of Namibia, which will translate into better development for the country.

With the Government decentralizing the tax offices, Murorua said training farmers on tax related issues would also lead to registering farmers and enable them to do business according to the requirements of the law.
“Then, we would be moving towards a more structured farming system,” he said.

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