Query: Namibian Sun wrote a story of concern from farmers under Namibia National Farmers’ Union (NNFU) that the ministry is using outdated policies and also failing to properly implement policies to disadvantage farmers in Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).
They put on record the Drought Policy of 1997 and the Meat Industry Act, Act No. 12 of 1981. Could this be true?
Response: “The policies implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry do not specify a purpose or intend to disadvantage farmers in the Northern Communal Areas. It would be more useful to be specific in terms of which provision of the policies you referred to in your article disadvantage farmers in the Northern Communal Areas. It is also important to point out that both the Drought Policy and the Meat Industry Act are currently being reviewed.”
Query: A farmer pointed out that there is a need for a meat processing plant in the Northern Communal Areas. Up on our research, the ministry is constructing a meat processing plant in Ongwediva near to AMTA. Was this communicated to farmers?
Response: “The decision to construct meat processing facilities was taken as part of the recommendations by a study on the meat value chain development in the NCAs. NCA farmers contributed their inputs towards that study. It should, however, be noted that farmers are not necessarily the ones that will be directly providing input materials into this plant, but rather the abattoirs. Farmers can market their cattle to existing abattoirs.”
Query: When will this construction start? And how much money is involved in constructing this meat processing plant?
Response: “The construction will commence as soon as the land servicing is complete; currently the land is not yet serviced. It will cost about N$60 million.”
Query: Who will have the ownership of the plant?
Response: “The Government will have the ownership, but the facility will be operated by the private sector.”
• Margaret S. Kalo, Senior Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org