ONGWEDIVA – Namibia will today dispatch its maiden truck of beef exports from the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) to Zimbabwe. This follows the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia’s Community Based Rangeland and Livestock Management Project as well as the Northern Communal Areas Livestock Marketing Forum.
“On October 23, the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Namibia and I held a press conference in Windhoek, where we informed the farming public that the government of Zimbabwe has accepted our request and has approved for the first time to import 1 000 tons of boned meat from the north [communal areas] in Namibia. Today I take this opportunity to announce that the first truck carrying 20 tons of chilled and boned meat has been dispatched from Oshakati abattoir to Harare,” agriculture minister John Mutorwa said yesterday in Oshakati.
The minister said in the current situation of severe drought, government has adopted new strategies that are put in place to relieve the effect of drought and help famers to get returns from their livestock and such policies include opening a livestock market in SADC neighbouring countries such as Angola, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
Beef exports to Zimbabwe are made possible through a joint venture between the Namibian private sector and farmers’ cooperatives that are established with the aim to organise auctions as well as generate commission for themselves.
Mutorwa said at least 60 percent of the Namibia population resides in the northern communal areas such as Kavango East and Kavango West, the northern areas of Kunene Region, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Zambezi and part of Oshikoto regions, and these areas have at least 60 percent of the livestock population in the country. However, livestock in these areas only contribute 10 percent of the Namibian agricultural GDP, while the off-take rate in livestock sales is only four percent. Hence, the fourth National Development Plan made, as one of its key objectives, the different strategies to increase agricultural productivity in the northern communal areas.