WINDHOEK– After almost landing up in the wilderness when showed the door by the Windhoek Show Society (WSC) in 2013, and forced to stage its annual show in Otjiwarongo last year, the Ongombe Farmers Association (OFA) will be back at the Windhoek Show Grounds this year for the Okamatapati Industrial and Agricultural Show.
Confirming the exciting news after burying the hatchet with the WSC following a bitter dispute with accusations by the WSC that OFA damaged infrastructure during their first show at the Windhoek Show Grounds in 2013, Chief Organiser of the Okamatapati Show, Albert Tjihero, says smoking the peace pipe with the WSC is yet another test of character for the more than 600 members of OFA. “We were very disappointed when the WSC banned us from further participation after the debacle of 2013 but now we are once again upbeat and are preparing for the best show ever from August 25 to 30 in Windhoek. It will be done at a hefty cost but we are out to prove a point,” he told Farmers Forum.
Tjihero says OFA is facing a stiff budget task by raising some N$250 000 for the show to happen, but he is confident that the target will be reached with the help of each and every member and loyal communities in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions. The OFA was established in July 1983, and has been a major influence as mouthpiece for communal farmers ever since and the. The Show of 2013 was seen as a groundbreaking step in the history of the Okamatapati Annual Show and OFA by coming to Windhoek.
Last year, the show was hosted by OFA in Otjiwarongo from August 25 to August 30. Just after the show in Otjiwarongo, the OFA and the Otjiwarongo Show Society emerged in talks and a merger of the two shows looked like a reality. “But,” says Tjehero,“due to a clash of dates we (OFA) will not stage our show in Otjiwarongo this year. The Otjiwarongo Show Society has set its date for September 2 to 5, and they have to stick to these dates. Unfortunately, OFA has also committed itself to be present at the Okakarara Trade Fair on the same dates and therefore it was decided to move our annual sow to Windhoek after receiving the green light from the WSS.”
“We did very well with the inaugural show and last year in Otjiwarongo when communal and emerging farmers drove hundreds of kilometres to lay the foundations for a show, which was bound to become a showpiece of note for all communal and emerging farmers. The bitter disappointment of the Windhoek Show Society (WSS) refusing permission for the show to be held in Windhoek again in 2014, was soon replaced with joy after learning about the new venue in Otjiwarongo and now we are once again very excited about being in Windhoek.”
Communal and emerging farmers will now again be tested to the limit to deliver their animals in Windhoek at huge costs. Tjihero says the WSS is demanding some N$40 000 in order to host the show while transport, fuel and food ill also making a big dent in the pockets of participating farmers. Some famers are still struggling to get back on their feet after selling vast quantities of their stock and they are still reeling from the financial implications of the 2013 drought, and is now faced with another drought, but there is hope and this will be proved during the upcoming Okamatapati Show.
Tjihero appeals to commercial farmers and all role players in the meat industry to support the OFA in its endeavour to stage the show and make it an event Namibians will be proud of. “In the past two years we struggled but we will do better this year,” he says. He adds that the current show committee, of which he is also a member, has worked very hard to make another dream come true for the OFA with the show being staged in Windhoek again. While at the show grounds, the OFA members are completely self-sufficient and supply all meals for the whole week. This year community members and entrepreneurs are expected to treat visitors again with colourful displays and stalls selling delicious meals and traditional dishes.
Apart from his renowned White Brahman, some of the finest Red Brahman and Simmentaler from various farmers from surrounding areas will be showcased. Small stock farmers will be present with the big variety of Boer Goats, and van Rooy and Damara sheep.