Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Abraham Nehemia on Tuesday urged all farmers and MAWF staff members involved in the Marketing Incentive Scheme to submit the claims for subsidy before Friday.
The Marketing Incentive Scheme was implemented on March 01 this year to avail funds to cover subsidy payments for livestock marketing incentives, lease of grazing and the transportation of livestock to areas where grazing was available.
Nehemia says the main reason for the urgent notification of the cut-off date for subsidies is to ensure that the allocated amount of N$60 million for the incentive scheme is not exceeded.
At the launch of the scheme, it was announced that the support from government would last until the situation has normalized on the ground or until the budget is exhausted, whichever comes first.
Nehemia confirmed that claims for subsidies from farmers and MAWF staff members will only be accepted until this coming Friday. “Claims received after this date will not be processed,” he stressed.
The initiation of an emergency drought strategy follows the crop farming industry announcing a dismal total harvest in both the commercial and communal areas this year. The role of every stakeholder – from farmers’ unions to Meatco and Agribank – was spelled out and the importance of the EU’s N$11 million and the MAWF’s N$2.5 million rangeland management systems was stressed as priorities in the worst drought in almost forty years.
Farmers were urged to sell their animals early in the year while they were still in reasonable shape as prices for cattle dropped from more than N$19 p/kg to just N$14 p/kg on average since March.
The over-demand created other problems, specifically bottlenecks at abattoirs and auctions and the situation was compounded by the closure of Witvlei Meat.
Lack of transport contributed to further problems as there simply were not enough wheels to deal with the transport of animals as the frenzy built up to sell animals while the buying power lasted.