DTA president McHenry Venaani has called on the Namibian Police (Nampol) to initiate an aggressive vigilante approach in protecting commercial farmers from thefts and deadly armed robberies.
Venaani was responding to recent media reports of increasing attacks by criminals on commercial farmers across the country.
Venaani says visibility is the only mechanism that can effectively act as deterrent for criminals that have for years targetted commercial farmers for their valuables and cash.
While acknowledging that criminal activity is first and foremost spurred on by a myriad of complex inter-linked factors, the primary one may be high incidences of object poverty and unemployment within our society, he said.
However, he said, he believes the focused attacks aimed at vulnerable commercial farmers, who are often isolated on large tracts of land with little to no police visibility or protection within the immediate vicinity, points to a deep-rooted culture that undervalues the significant contribution of commercial farmers to the smooth and efficient functioning of the economy, as well as the livelihood of many Namibians.
“We recognise that it may be physically impossible for Nampol to patrol each and every commercial farm. Accordingly we call on the Namibian nation to stand up in solidarity and help protect our brothers and sisters on commercial farms,” he said.
Venaani says it is common cause that the agricultural sector is directly responsible for the sustenance and daily bread of over 40% of Namibians, and thus it is essential that the government does everything within its power to not only protect the interest of communal farmers but also commercial farmers.
“DTA remains steadfast in the belief that our agricultural sector is not being utilised to its optional capacity as farmers are being hindered by various technical obstacles, such as the lack of diversified international markets where their produce or goods can be sold at higher profit margins,” stated Venaani.
Venaani says without delving into hyperbole, it would be most unfortunate if Namibia were to copycat the Zimbabwean route of not fully appreciating the critical role that commercial farmers play in contributing to the GDP.
According to him the unabated trend of attacks on commercial farms over the last two decades has the potential to discourage young Namibians from pursuing commercial farming as a career, “and one dreads to think of the attendant consequences that could hold for food security in the country”.