Budding Farmers and Students Exchange Notes

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

Seventeen emerging farmers and students of agriculture completed a one-week training course recently. The European Union-funded Emerging Commercial Farmers’ Support Programme (ECFSP) hosted the workshop.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund presented the course at its Research and Education Centre outside Otjiwarongo.

“Now, I can determine how much lick I need, at what cost, for an entire month, and more importantly, I know that I will earn excellent returns on this investment,” stated a course participant at the end of the Financial Management training course.

The course content covered a much wider spectrum than just the benefits of supplementary feeding.

Farmers were taught to align herd size to forage availability, compiling their own marketing plans, deriving their annual income, calculating direct production costs in line with the management calendar, determining other overhead costs and calculating expected surpluses or losses.

More light was also shed on the principles of lending money and the repayment of loans, the importance of record keeping and the principles of Value Added Tax and Income Tax.

The farmers were also sensitised about the fact that farm workers are one of the most important assets of any successful farming enterprise.

In addition, course participants gained insight into the functioning and objectives of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, (CCF) and learnt more about its various programmes on offer, such as the Livestock Guarding Dog initiative.
The centre breeds Kangal Sherperd dogs that are made available at a minimal fee to farmers who have trouble with predators.

The CCF course facilitator, Gunther Roeber said the livestock guarding initiative is mostly meant for small stock that is mostly targeted by predators.

“Some predators such as cheetahs are scared of dogs and will not attack the animals. The idea is not that the dogs should kill the predators but just to keep them away,” Roeber said.

He noted that the dogs just chase the predators away, adding that just the presence of the dogs keeps them away.

Participants mostly came from the Otjozondjupa and Kunene regions.
More courses are scheduled for later this year, said Roeber.

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