The prevailing drought has forced many Namibians, such as retired teacher turned entrepreneur, Amon Uiseb, to think out of the box. Uiseb has started a company to train Namibians in pig, chicken and aquaculture farming.
White Meat Training Solutions CC is offering its first course in buying and selling pigs, managing a pig herd and housing for small piggeries this Saturday in Windhoek. “This will be a day-long course during which participants will be provided notes, stationery and a certificate of attendance,” says Uiseb.
In addition to health advantages over red meat, white meat is also cheaper and his company wants to equip black farmers in particular with the necessary knowledge to make their ventures successful. Pig farming has immense growth potential in Namibia and farmers stand to benefit a great deal from the introduction of a Pork Market Share Promotion Scheme (MSP) implemented recently.
While the Pork MSP Scheme has reaped positive results since 2012, Uiseb opines that better trained and better equipped small scale farmers can take pig farming to the highest level and contribute significantly to this ever-growing market, especially because of the recent ban on all pork products imported from South Africa due to the outbreak of swine fever in that country,” Uiseb observes.
He says the scheme protects every farmer in the pig industry and the future looks bright with this scheme for local pig farmers. The aim of the scheme is to establish an interim intervention to grow the pork industry; ensure economical viability in the sector; ensure future co-existence of pig production and processing sectors; and protect farmers against external influences such as low price imports.
The principle of the scheme is to implement a quantitative restriction on the importation of fresh or frozen pork cuts or carcasses with a ration of 1:3 (local purchases to imports per kilogramme).
Pig farming in Namibia is a part-time activity and most farmers do not rear pigs for economic reasons. The planned training courses will improve the knowledge of pig farmers on every level.
“Our courses will inform on buying and selling of pigs, managing pig herds, housing for small piggeries, feeding, common diseases, biosecurity, piglet management, breeding, handling of pigs, planning and budgeting and marketing and economics,” he says.
Uiseb is confident that there are numerous potential advantages of pig production in Namibia and that farmers stand to benefit a great deal from well-supported pig farming activities in the country.
Namibia’s pork market is threatened by cheaper pork imports, especially from South Africa, and retail shops are forced to import most of their pork from South Africa due to a lack of pig farming in Namibia.
Pork is being sold at prices far below the production cost per kilogramme for local producers and imported pork is squeezing locals out of the market. Some 52 percent all pig products are locally sourced, while the rest are imported.
Uiseb says there is a need, especially for small-stock farmers, to diversify their activities and start engaging more in pig farming to increase the country’s capacity to sustain itself. Apart from consumption, the sector can contribute greatly to the country’s economic growth and job creation.
Uiseb’s courses will also provide business plans for pork/poultry agriculture and a marketing plan for these products. The courses will include site visits to pork/poultry farming sites and workshops and seminars will take place on pork and poultry production.
He says indigenous farmers should be assisted to take advantage of the Infant Industry Protection Act to launch successful ventures in piggery and poultry. “At the moment there is only one major supplier of pork in Namibia, who is enjoying a literal monopoly, because there is no competition. The same applies to Namibian Poultry Industries, who have taken full advantage of this protection,” he notes.
Uiseb adds that although black farmers do not have huge enough facilities for production, if sufficiently high numbers are made aware of opportunities open to them, they would be able to demand help from government and other stakeholders. “We can then be able to do contract farming and turn villages into small productive units. We do not want retirement villages,” he observes.
Municipalities can give land to trained youths to establish such ventures, thereby buying into the Harambee Prosperity Plan to eradicate poverty and create employment. A holder of a higher education diploma, BEd (honours), a post-graduate diploma in education administration, as well as a Masters degree in education leadership, Uiseb believes he is well equipped to impart essential knowledge to farming trainees.
Uiseb can be contacted on 081 8433 109.