Electrification of  border fence nears completion

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Agriculture minister John Mutorwa

Windhoek

Electrification of part of the high-risk area of the veterinary cordon fence and the Namibia-Botswana international border fence which commenced in 2013, is expected to be completed later this year.

The announcement was made by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa recently in the National Assembly when he motivated his ministry’s total budget of N$2.3 billion for the 2016/17 financial year. This represents a 4.7 percent reduction from last year’s allocation.

Of the total budget, N$1.1 billion is for the operational budget, while the remaining N$1.2 billion is allocated to the development budget.

With N$25.8 million available in the 2015/16 budget for improvement of animal health and marketing in the northern communal areas (NCAs), Mutorwa said the ministry will continue to implement the strategy for achieving international recognition for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lung sickness-free status.

The implementation of such a strategy, Mutorwa noted, is aimed at creating conditions which will allow farmers in the NCAs to access local, regional and international markets for their animals and animal products.

The essential elements of the plan, he says, involve strengthening of veterinary services by bolstering staff capacity in terms of recruitment and skills development, development of surveillance and response guidelines, construction of veterinary infrastructure, procurement of equipment and vehicles, and community mobilisation and participation in veterinary activities.

Mutorwa said international collaboration in the management of trans-boundary animal diseases would also be strengthened.

“A major long-term component of the plan entails the eventual erection of a border fence between Namibia and Angola and relocation of livestock relying on grazing in Angola to identified grazing areas within Namibia,” Mutorwa noted.

He indicated that the livestock identification and traceability system will continue in the NCAs and the entire population of cattle above six months of age is expected to be ear-tagged during this financial year.

Further, he revealed that an abattoir, cold storage and cooking facility will be set up in Zambezi region.

According to him, these facilities are aimed at improving value addition and to take advantage of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) FMD chapter on commodity-based trade to ensure continuous marketing of meat and meat products from an FMD high-risk area, such as canned beef, cooked meat, biltong and other heat-treated meat products.

Mutorwa said his ministry needs the N$1.06 billion to effectively carry out some of its agricultural programmes that are critical for both development and meeting the country’s regional and global commitments.

The ministry will implement four programmes, namely, agriculture, water, forestry, and supervision and support services.

Mutorwa said Namibia’s regional and global commitments include the United Nations sustainable development goal on the eradication of poverty and hunger and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) with its four pillars. These four pillars cover extending the area under sustainable management and reliable water control systems, improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access, increasing food supply and reducing hunger, and agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption.

Other activities needed to be carried out under the agriculture programme include the monitoring and supervision of the construction of Uvungu-Vungu dairy project, Ndonga Linena phase 2, Musese, Mashare, Etunda, Kalimbeza, Zone, and Katima Farm, among other green scheme projects.

Mutorwa said the ministry would also continue to upgrade irrigation infrastructure at the said green scheme projects.

He also revealed that the ministry would construct the Rundu and Ongwediva fresh produce hubs phase 2 and Windhoek fresh produce phase 1, as well as complete Ongwediva technology centre.

 

 

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