Windhoek – At the annual planning session of the Executive Council (EC) of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) last week the strategies of the NAU on the way forward were prioritised.
The Executive Council looked at the strategies of NAU that need prioritising on the way forward, stressing that better cooperation with the government on the political, as well as administrative level is necessary.
It also decided to improve liaison with administrative personnel within the public service. The EC expressed its concern that the public often reacts to perceptions regarding commercial agriculture and not on factual information.
The NAU will make an attempt to not only give its members factual information, but also the general public.
This will be done through a series of meetings early next year in the commercial sector. The various regions will be responsible to arrange the meetings and the dates will be announced well in advance.
The future financing of the NAU following the out-phasing of levy financing from the Meat Board, was debated at length by the EC. Currently an increase in membership fees was accepted at the last October’s congress, but there are various options that will be investigated to ensure future financing without burdening members with increased membership fees. As soon as more clarity has been obtained about possible financing options, NAU members will be informed accordingly.
The re-stocking after the drought is another concern for the NAU. In support of farmers to re-stock, negotiations will be held with AgriBank, as well as commercial banks.
The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) also held its annual planning session last week in Windhoek. Challenges in the livestock sector and possible solutions thereto, were high on the agenda. The improvement of certain issues which hampered marketing the past year was also noted with gratitude.
These positive points include the announcement of less stringent import requirements to South Africa; the small stock marketing scheme; 1:1 negotiation versus the pressure to increase to include ratio; the role of NAU/LPO in the re-opening of the Okapuka feedlot and averting announced price decreases; and the court’s decision to decrease levies on raw hides and skins.
Naturally, the outlook on a good rainy season was received very positively.
One of the challenges that stood out during the discussions is the concern about a decrease in livestock production.
Aspects within a producer’s control and about which producers can take responsibility were also discussed.
The most important component is herd management, with the emphasis on the increase of calf and lamb percentages. Predator control, good rangeland management practices and de-bushing are vital, it was agreed. It is also crucial for producers to be able to measure the financial and production aspects of their businesses in order to improve.
For this purpose, participation in the AgriStat programme is necessary. Due to a lack of sufficient agricultural extension services, producers need to pro-actively seek information through agricultural magazines, newsletters and the internet.