Windhoek-The agricultural stakeholders’ meeting that was initially scheduled in Gobabis last month is back on track, taking place today in the very same town starting from nine o’clock.
The meeting was postponed given some misunderstandings between the NNFU and its affiliate in the region, the Omaheke Regional Farmers Union (ORFU), which have since been ironed out.
Vice-chairperson of ORFU, Peter Kazongominja, confirmed earlier that the affiliates and the umbrella body have agreed in principle that there is a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship between them and that the one cannot do without the other. Provided of course that the matter of mutual concern was addressed.
Kazongominja said the growth at home strategy must start somewhere like putting feedlots in place. Further, he said, focus on rangeland must also be cognisant of the fact that most communal areas are bushes today and thus the NNFU cannot speak of improving rangelands when there are no ranges. Thus it could help farmers by helping them with debushing. In this regard Kazongominja said regular consultations are necessary with members who all have their unique interests. Such regular consultations are also necessary to ensure that members are informed, even if only the leadership of the various affiliates. Because currently vital information did not seem to trickle down to the affiliates and the broader membership of the affiliates.
Meanwhile, emerging farmers who took to the streets of Windhoek last month to petition both the Ministry of Finance and the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, over their fear about the possible loss of their farms due to arears on the repayment of loans from the bank, are meeting for the first time since the petitioning. They are tomorrow meeting at their usual meeting point in Windhoek, the Katutura Youth Complex, at six o’clock in the evening. They are updating themselves on the answer to their petition from the Ministry of Finance and Agribank, mapping the way forward either way, whether there is a positive or negative response to their petition. In this regard all farmers who have a loan with Agribank for whatever farming endeavour are invited to attend the meeting.
Meantime as if anticipating the farmers meeting tomorrow, Agribank has issued a media release in response to the farmers’ petition refusing to accede to most demands of the farmers. These are meeting each loaner individually, de-listing those blacklister with the ICT saying this can only be done once they have cleared their arrears or have successfully applied for consolidation of their arrears with the Bank; refusing to meet them as group saying it has always advocated for individual client engagements and will continue to promote this practical approach; and refusing to cancel its contracts with debt collectors saying it can use any legitimate channel or entity to collect arrears and has legitimately appointed debt collectors on specified-time contracts.