Bureaucracy ensnares Kavango Game Farm
NYONDO – A game farm has been established in the Kavango East area, but although they are opening their doors to the public, full use of the game is impossible as they are still awaiting a lease from the government.
The farm, about 95km east of Rundu in Nyondo in Ndonga Linena constituency, has nine giraffes, 115 elk, 55 kudu, 85 oryx, 45 waterbucks, 29 sable antelope, 38 Burchell’s zebra, 145 impala , 55 blesbok, 11 ostriches, six springboks, 12 warthogs, 15 gray duikers, 15 steenboks and 45 vervet monkeys. All the animals roam freely in their natural habitat, like in a game park.
“We didn’t realize that acquiring a lease took so long. It was a major setback,” said Ralf Walter, who partnered with a local farm owner to raise game.
“We’ve put in huge financial inflows, and we’ve been waiting for almost four years now. We will continue to bring more play and from May we will bring in learners from different schools to educate them about the game.”
Walter also owns the Mahangu Safari Lodge in the Divundu area.
He moved to Namibia from Germany in 1983.
Without a lease, owners cannot sell game meat, cannot obtain hunting and sales licenses, and no trophy hunting activities are permitted at this time.
“I met Walter five years ago, and he was looking for a farm where he could partner with the owner to raise game for economic reasons. I told him I had a farm, and I liked the idea that if he could bring in the resources that we could, and we decided to go ahead,” said farm owner Valentinus Shindimba.
“I took it to the traditional authorities, they supported the idea, and here we are. The challenge is just getting the new lease.
The game is kept on a portion of 3,000 hectares of the farm, while a plot of 2,000 hectares is reserved for breeding.
At the launch of the Kavango Game Breeders Farm, Selma Angolo, the Department of Environment’s wildlife management officer for the two regions of Kavango, noted that having a local game farm is not only prestigious but an asset to the region, and the management of natural resources through conservation practices is essential.
She added that there was no doubt that this farm would be exemplary.
“Opening its doors will allow our closest communities, especially schools, to come for environmental education. Students from higher education institutions (local and international) can also research vegetation or animal behavior on the farm,” she noted.
Angolo further pointed out that game farming will create jobs for locals.
“Sustainable use of game through on-farm hunting practices will benefit the community by having access to purchase game meat. However, regarding the use of game on the farm, it is made impossible because the farm does not have a lease. Therefore, as a ministry, we are unable to issue hunting licenses and also complete the registration process for this game farm.
One of the concerns is that the game population on the farm will increase dramatically and if left unchecked or managed, some animals could start dying off due to interspecific and intraspecific competition for resources. It is therefore extremely important that the farm obtains a lease so that the benefits can start trickling down to the farm and to the communities,” she continued.
Angolo said as stakeholders there is a need to support and strengthen relationships with the farm owner and his team through conservation efforts for the benefit of future generations.
Kavango East Governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, in a speech read on his behalf by his personal assistant Andreas Haingura, said the growing influence of trophy hunting and the wildlife industry may be a significant contributing factor to regional economy and growth because through this process employment can be created as is done in other parts of Namibia.
“I have been informed that you have also invited learners as well as traditional leaders to this event. I really appreciate your initiative as it signals the fundamental aspect of safeguarding our environment, which includes wildlife and our natural resources,” he added.
“It is thanks to our traditional rulers that we have this environment today, and it is thanks to the dedicated youth that our environment will be protected for future generations,” Wakudumo noted.
On behalf of the VaGciriku Traditional Authority, Senior Chief Festus Shikerete said the traditional authority welcomes the investment in his jurisdiction.
“We are grateful because this farm will be there to educate our children about different animals. This project will eradicate poverty through the employment of young people who have remained at home without work. We’re glad you’re meeting the government halfway through the fight against poverty. This area was once the hunting ground of our deceased traditional chiefs who reigned in the past. During their time, many wild animals were in this area,” Ndonga Linena Constituency Councilor Michael Kampota said at the launch.