Windhoek-The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) and its affiliates, particularly from the regions of Omaheke and Otjozondjupa, are yet to meet to solve pertinent issues that have been souring relations between the umbrella body and some of its affiliates.
The sour relations are an outflow of the union’s congress last year, which elected a new leadership under president Jason Emvula. But since affiliates from the two regions have been maintaining that the new leadership does not represent their interests as red meat producers. As a result of these strained relations between the union and some of its affiliates, the Otjozondjupa Communal Farmers Union (OCFU) boycotted a stakeholders’ meeting in Okakarara last month while a similar meeting that was scheduled for the Omaheke Region in Gobabis last week, was also postponed.
The affiliates say they have tabled a litany of issues with NNFU that is yet not provide a platform for them to reach common understanding on the said issues. To add insult to injury, NNFU has been implicated in rumoured discussions, as the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) apparently lobbies the government to ban the export of weaners to South Africa. Such export has been an important lifeline to local producers with the depressed prices on the home front because of the auctioneering syndicates, which have been a monopolised buying cartel suppressing the prices at will because on one particular permit there is only one buyer. In this regard, farmers have been presented with a sell-or-starve situation. Thus the latest rumours about NNFU and Meatco contemplating a ban on live exports to South Africa has not done much to improve the strained relations between NNFU and its affiliates.
This situation led to the two affiliates, OCFU and the Omaheke Regional Farmers Union (ORFU) meeting in Sandveld, a day after the Okakarara agricultural stakeholders meeting. Chairperson of ORFU, Stanley Kauandra, has not been available yet for feedback on the outcome of this meeting at Sandveld in the Kalahari constituency of the Omaheke Region. But, meantime, the NNFU has acknowledged communication, especially to ORFU requesting to meet its leadership to discuss pertinent issues.
“I would also want to suggest to meet with your leadership so that if there are any issues that are within the mandate of NNFU, which we can collectively resolve should be attended to soonest. Please advise me on the suitable date. I would kindly propose to meet with your leadership in Gobabis,” reads the letter from the NNFU president to ORFU chairperson on February 15.
In the same letter, despite the initial dissatisfaction by ORFU following the NNFU congress last year, the NNFU president noted happily that ORFU may have reflected on the matter and has subsequently paid its membership to the union, which it did on February 12.
“Fellow farmers, the agricultural sector, more than ever before, is facing challenges that require teamwork and a united voice, a voice that should contribute effectively in informing policy formulation, adaptation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. It is vital that as united farmers our collective inputs in driving the agricultural sector to greater height is paramount,” pleaded the NNFU president in the letter to ORFU.