Improved livestock condition brings relief to farmers

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-The good rains received countrywide have brought relief to many communal farmers in the //Karas region, who say they are now starting to receive good prices for their livestock.

With most parts of the region receiving showers over the past few months, pastures have improved drastically in most areas and it is like a new beginning for many farmers, as they start to see improvements in the conditions of their livestock, after losing their animals to recurrent spells of drought.

Most farmers New Era spoke to indicated that the conditions of their animals, mostly goats and sheep, have improved and that they are now fortunate to receive good prices unlike during the drought period when they sold their animals for peanuts.

Johanes Petrus Markus, a member of Klein- Karas cooperative that farms mostly with sheep, said the rains have brought smiles back on the faces of the members and farmers in the Klein-Karas area at large, adding that many are dependent on the income from farming.

He said the good pastures mean farmers are now able to sell their animals for a good amount, unlike a few months ago when the livestock was not in good shape.
“The conditions have improved, while we received about N$400 to N$500 per sheep during the drought, the prices have increased and we are now selling at N$900 or more,” he said.

Maria Afrikaner, a small stock farmer in the Blouwes area, also stated that although she has lost most of her animals to the drought, the good rains received have brought hope to many famers in the area, saying many are now happy as their animals are recovering and they are confident that they will be able to once again get value for their animals.

“The grazing areas have improved and our animal’s conditions have improved so we should be able to get good prices when we sell,” she said.

Christof Matamu, the sales manager of Mudi’s butchery at Keetmanshoop who sources meat supplies from communal farmers around the town, indicated that livestock prices have increased with improvement in the general condition of goats and sheep.
Matamu narrated that the butchery currently pays N$55 per kilogram for sheep, compared to last year November when it was only about N$48 per kilogram.
He further noted that the general condition of the animals on most farms has improved, explaining that due to the improving conditions, the farmers are reluctant to sell at any price as was the case during the drought, saying most farmers are now holding out for maximum profit.
“Farmers are no longer desperate to sell their livestock, they want to keep them until they are in good condition so that they can fetch good prices,” he explained.

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