n Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro
WINDHOEK – “The ban is still enforced due to the fact that the Directorate of Veterinary Services did not receive any report from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to substantiate that indeed the buffalo has returned to the Waterberg Game Reserve, with all other detailed information. As a result we need to obey all the regulations of the World Trade Organisation we have ratified in conjunction with all other agreements we have with Norway and the EU to where we export our meat,” confirms the councillor for Okakarara Constituency, VeÞaruhe Kanÿorozu.
The councillor, together with Otjozondjupa governor, Otto Ipinge, on Monday, May 14, hosted a stakeholders’ meeting in Okakarara attended by farmers associations’ representatives, traditional leaders and officials of the ministries of Environment and Tourism and Agriculture, Water and Forestry to discuss the status of the buffalo which had been sighted in the area but its whereabouts to date unknown for sure. But foremost, the ban on the movement of animals and the economic consequences for farming.
“Our community is highly negatively affected by the ban on the movement of animals and products out of the constituency. As you know our community depends more on subsistence farming. As we speak right now the constituency revenue has declined by 80% as there is no income circulating in the constituency, to its periphery and the neighbouring towns that depend on cattle auctions in Okakarara Constituency. Our people can’t pay for their water debts, due to the fact that their income has shrunk, as a result of the roaming buffalo that we assume came from the Waterberg Game Park. This week we have the reopening of the schools. Parents need to prepare their children with some cosmetics and groceries, that are going back to school while hostel fees need to be paid. Thus we do not know how those parents will honour the hostel fess, renting fees and other related expenses,’’ laments Kanÿorozu.
It is not clear if the meeting on May 14 came up with any solution. Meantime the councillor himself says he is working on a submission to the Otjozondjupa Regional Council seeking its approval for a request to different institutions, mainly Ministry of Education, and NamWater, to in the meantime exempt clients from paying any fees and bills until the ban is lifted.
Meanwhile, many have been relying on relatives earning salaries or wages in urban areas, old age allowances as well as on internal trade among themselves. “Not that I can think of, maybe after the 28th May 2018 when the second round of blood sable will be collected,” Kanÿorozu responds pessimistically to the question whether he sees any immediate solution to the problem.