Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. John Kowalski at the Okakarara State Veterinary Office Handover Ceremony in Okakarara

Moro Vatengua noz Zerekaze,

Pamue notjiuana atjihe tjitjarongana mba.

I am pleased to be here today with the Honorable Minister Mutorwa as we realize your good idea of creating State Veterinary Offices in the Northern Communal Areas.

Ten years ago, the United States Congress created the Millennium Challenge Corporation as a new and smart way to deliver foreign aid.

MCC, and more specifically, the Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia, have proven that Namibians know the best solutions for Namibia.

The U.S. government is honored to help realize your idea of this State Veterinary Office.

The United States government, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, has invested 52 million US dollars in Namibian agriculture.

The Compact has focused on Namibia’s advantages, including large semi-arid areas suitable for raising livestock.

90 percent of our efforts in the Northern Communal Areas are focused where more than half of all households earn a living from raising livestock.

The MCA-Namibia Agricultural Project is focused on increasing productivity and profits derived from livestock.

The Agricultural Project specifically focused on

  • the land tenure system,
  • introducing improved rangeland
  • improving livestock management practices,
  • improving animal health and
  • increasing livestock marketing.

More pointedly, the Livestock Support Activity seeks to equalize marketing opportunities so farmers who live north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence enjoy the same market opportunities enjoyed by farmers who live south of the Fence.

The focus of this State Veterinary Office will be on improving veterinary services with the aim of achieving animal disease-free status for the Northern Communal Areas.

This is essential for Northern farmers to gain access to international markets.

The Namibian Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has technical resources in personnel, but needs infrastructure to support high quality veterinary services in the NCAs and in areas with concentrated livestock populations.

We need both — high quality technical staff AND infrastructure — to improve livestock health and improve herd productivity.

It is for these reasons that the MCC compact objective has been to build five State Veterinary Offices in the Northern Communal Areas.

These facilities include

  • offices,
  • a laboratory and clinic,
  • storage,
  • post mortem facilities,
  • cold room,
  • bathrooms,
  • garages/carports,
  • a pharmacy, and
  • accommodation facilities for permanent staff.

Today’s handover of one of these Veterinary Offices, fits into the broader objective of the MCC compact’s livestock activity.

The activity aims to improve livestock productivity and related incomes to farmers living in Namibia’s Northern Communal Areas.

Increasing productivity of livestock will be achieved by reducing animal diseases and mortality through
a) improved availability of public veterinary services;
b) introduction of a traceability system that enables herd monitoring, which is one requirement for livestock access to international markets, and
c) increasing opportunities for marketing of  livestock products both within Namibia and the SADC region.

The overall objective is to increase the farmers’ cash income derived from large livestock and small stock farming in the NCAs.

Thank you, Honorable Minister Mutorwa, for your unwavering support to the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Compact, both as Minister of Agriculture and as a member of the MCA Namibia Board.

I believe that much of the considerable progress made under the Agriculture Project is sustainable when the activities are understood, owned and taken over by Ministry of Agriculture departments and staff and provided an adequate budget to continue these activities.

I am proud of the partnership and commitment from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to equip, furnish, maintain and staff these facilities.

Finally, it is an honor to see this commitment occur today.

Thank you, Honorable Minister Mutorwa.

Minikue nohange!  or Okuhepa!