In a bid to resolve the backlog on the supply of goats, the Department of Animal Production under the Ministry of Agriculture has resolved to procure goats from Namibia – a move which has been met with disdain by councillors.
Justifying the move, Bakang Keinyatse said government decided to procure the goats because of the failure by the local market to supply and meet the high demand of goats for their small stock projects. However, councillors have castigated the government saying the move will not only be costly, but will do a disservice to local farmers. According to the councillor for Mantshwabisi, Meshack Tshenyego, government should instead increase the current price of P700 per goat in order to attract local farmers to sell to the government.
“The reason that government is struggling to find goats locally is because of the low price per goat, and I am confident that should this amount be increased, farmers will come forth,” he said.
Tshenyego also said procuring from Namibia will be costly as the goats have to be vaccinated and undergo some processes before being distributed to the beneficiaries. Other councillors expressed optimism on the availability of goats locally, but said farmers did not want to come forth because of low prices offered by the government as well as the slow process of payment.
“Government should improve its system of paying the farmers because they cannot stand waiting for months for their payment. Should government speed up the payment process, I am sure it will not struggle to find goats locally,” said nominated councillor, Mr Digobo Ramathaosa. He said government should consider the process of paying cash in direct exchange for goats.
However, Keinyatse defended the move saying there is a new arrangement which allows beneficiaries to be given cash to directly buy the goats from identified sellers, therefore eliminating the issue of slow payments.