By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
Omaheke Region’s communal farmers have struck a six-month provisional deal with the Hammer and Tongue auctioneers for the buying of big livestock from communal areas in the Omaheke Region, with the first auction due tomorrow in Corridor 13 in the Aminuis constituency.
Inge Kangootui, a member of the committee established by the communal farming community following a meeting on April 23 and 24 in Gobabis, confirmed the deal. The committee was established after auctioneers Agra and Karoo indicated their intention to no longer buy livestock through auctions in communal areas in the Omaheke Region.
However, Agra has been maintaining that it has not boycotted auctions in Omaheke and that auctions are its preferred mode of acquiring livestock as opposed to permits, adding that the issue was still under discussion.
Among the issues up for discussion are the procedures for paying out cash at auctions, as well as the percentage commission paid out to the respective farmers’ organisations involved in auctions.
Farmers’ associations have been demanding a five percent commission with auctioneers sticking to two percent that they have been paying. It is the same two percent commission that the farmers have agreed with Hammer and Tongue in the new provisional deal.
Kangootui says they are still to meet with buyers today to map out to them the dos and don’ts regarding livestock buying through interim buyers.
She points out that buyers rather than the auctioneering houses have been the very source of the farmers’ dissatisfaction and it is imperative that from the onset it is made clear to them what the farmers should tolerate or cannot.
She says in particular farmers have not been happy with auctioneers’ agents deliberately keeping out other buyers and acting as agents for them. They would rather want to see other buyers present.
The auction takes place in Epukiro in the Epukiro constituency on Wednesday and in Otjinene in the Otjinene constituency on Thursday with Eiseb (Epukiro constituency) and Otjombinde (Otjombinde constituency) to follow next.
Respective farmers’ associations and cooperatives shall be responsible for issuing receipts to sellers, while Hammer and Tongue shall be responsible for the transportation of auction money from Gobabis to the various communal areas as well as payment to the livestock owners.
Security concerns in transporting money are among the reasons why Agra and Karoo have withdrawn from having auctions in the Omaheke Region’s communal areas.
Negotiations are on with Sell Fast with regard to the buying of small livestock.
According to Kangootui, the farming community has as yet to consult with both Agra and Karoo to determine future working relations.
Due to pressure to obtain substitute buyers following Agra and Karoo’s decision to stop buying livestock at auctions in the Omaheke Region’s communal areas, the farming community has had little time to consult the two auctioneers regarding their decision and the future.