NKURENKURU – Members of the Kavango West Farmers Union want their communal farms commercialised, at the moment the farming units in the region belongs to the State and leased to farmers who use them for a maximum period of 99 years.
This was said by Sabine Mufenda, the chairperson of the Kavango West Farmers Union during a press conference that was held at Nkurenkuru on Wednesday.
Mufenda wants government to allow farmers to do more on their farms, not just farming with livestock and crops as their lease currently permits.
“First and foremost, we appreciate efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to allow leasehold farmers to be able to harvest timber on their respective farms. However, we are discriminated not to sell/market charcoal for unknown reasons,” Mufenda said.
“Our demand on behalf of our farmers is that we want to be allowed to harvest and sell all forest products, for farmers to be able to use funds generated in maintaining the farms infrastructures and all activities, as well as to combat bush encroachment,” she said.
The union also touched on the road infrastructure which hinders their activities.
“Farmers in Kavango West find it extremely difficult to transport their products, we want the Ministry of Works and Transport through Roads Authority to speed up the construction of gravel roads in the region, especially road number D3446 Cassava Refugee Camp, T0803-Elavi T1501 known as Charlie Cutline as it runs through farms in six constituencies,” Mufenda said.
She noted these roads amongst others will benefit farmers tremendously as they will be able to transport their products to different markets. The union further feel it is high time the Veterinary Cordon Fence removed as it negatively affects and discriminates against communal farmers.
“We strongly believe the immediate shifting of the redline will decolonise communal farmers from lucrative markets, which will subsequently contribute positively in improving their livelihood and change their farming from the current status to business,” Mufenda said.