Since last Tuesday, farmers in the Okakarara Constituency, communal farmers in particular, have been up and running in hot pursuit of a buffalo that was spotted by a farmer in the village of Okarui in the constituency.
It is understandable that following the sad news of the detection of the buffalo, communal farmers have not had a night’s sleep, scurrying around, and sparing no energy let alone any meagre resources at their disposal in these trying times of more scarcity because of the ban on the movement of animals, to find the stray buffalo in the shortest time possible.
This in collaboration with authorities from ministries like that of agriculture, water and forestry (MAWF), particularly its veterinary services, and that of environment and tourism that is responsible for conservancies and, thus, on whose shoulders the responsibility and accountability for the roaming buffalo squarely lies.
It may be a few years since the occurrence in the Otjozondjupa Region of some roaming and stray buffalos, but the impact then, to say the least, was widespread and disastrous and nearly calamitous or calamitous. Thus, this is very much fresh in the minds of many, especially communal farmers in the Okakarara Constituency, whose livelihood would be threatened by the detection of the buffalos and the subsequent banning on the movement of animals for a protracted period.
Literally, life in the constituency, especially in the communal areas, be it Okakarara main, Okondjatu, Okamatapari, Okotjituuo and Coblenz, came to a standstill. This is because the mainstay of the constituency, as far as these communal areas are concerned – the cattle economy, came under threat because of the ban on the movement of animals, meaning farmers could not sell their animals.
For most of these farmers, selling cattle is the only means of income, thus sustenance. One cannot but liken their situation then to the current economic recession in Namibia, which in particular has tremendously affected the construction industry. Those who have been close to the construction industry in the country, economically linked to it one way or the other, very well know what it means when one’s economic umbilical cord is all of a sudden cut.
Shop closures, repossessions, and what-have-you, the calamities are too numerous to enumerate. No recovery from such for some. The social effects of such may also be far-reaching than meets the eye. Social decay and upsurge in crime are. Some of the impacted, given the lucrativeness of their tenders, may have stashed something away for the rainy day. But this could not be said with the communal farmers, for whom farming for most is subsistence.
That is why the recurrence of buffalos in the constituency, and the Otjozondjupa Region at large, one cannot but agree more with Kazenambo Kazenambo “KK”, needs a serious, urgent and long-lasting solution by all stakeholders. Because of the current recession, one cannot but be oblivious to how it has impacted, especially on communal areas. Lately, more often than not, children have been sent on extended breaks, especially schools with hostel accommodation.
This is partly due to the current recession, as because of the signs of the times, maintaining hostels, especially feeding learners has become an unsustainable undertaking. Increasingly, parents are being called upon to bring their dues to contain this situation. Parents in urban areas may be able to cope from their weekly and/or monthly wages.
In urban areas, for that matter, most parents may not have their children in hostels. But most of the schools in rural areas rely on hostels because the schools sparse and thus far from homes.
Meaning that schools in rural areas have been bearing the brunt of the current recession in the country. Parents in these areas rely mostly, if not only, on selling their animals. And parents in the communal area of Okakarara are no exception.
But more saddening than the recalcitrant commercial farmer, as KK again maintains, and one cannot but again agree with him, is that these roaming animals belong to the government and it must seriously start doing something about them. While the animals belong to the government, it is the poor farmers most of the time who have been suffering from the ban on the movement of animals because of the roaming buffalos time and again.