The involvement of the NSBA in the promotion of breeding and genetic improvement in the communal livestock sector
The aims and objectives of the NSBA are inter alia to insure that the administrative functions pertaining to the registration, recording and certification of pedigree livestock, are carried out within the requirements of the Namibia Livestock Improvement Act as well as to further stud breeding in general in Namibia. To sustain the generic progress in Namibia, it is of utmost importance that breeding practices and policies are based on a sound foundation, and the NSBA is fully aware of it's responsibility, concerning the promotion of breeding and generic improvement in the communal areas. Unfortunately the NSBA has only limited funds to its disposal, as well as a very small staff. Nevertheless the NSBA, either by it's own promotion or through it's affiliated breeder`s organizations (at this stage there are 22 affiliated Societies), encourage the presentation of courses, focussing mainly on the judging of animals in order to secure optimum selection, record keeping for breeding purposes, and buying of suitable bulls or rams etc. Quite a lot of these courses are held in communal areas.
The NSBA furthermore encourages its individual breeders to get involved in the promotion of breeding in communal areas.
The provision of breeding material to communal producers
The provision of breeding material for communal farmers at affordable prices on auctions ar even at private sales is a problem the NSBA is aware of and already brought this concern under the attention of the affiliated breeders societies. Furthermore this matter will be discussed on the Annual General Meeting of the NSBA this year. The Karakul Breeders Society for instance is actively involved in projects, where subsidised breeding material is provided to communal farmers. The latest project is the Damara Karakul project, where breeding material (subsidised by the Karakul Board) will be offered to communal farmers in Damaraland, in order to establish the Karakul sheep in that area. This effort will undoubtedly contribute to enhance the standard of living of these communal farmers.
The NSBA intends to promote similar projects for all the other breeds in Namibia.
Rendering of technical and advisory services to emergent stud breeders
Due to financial restrictions, the NSBA is unfortunately not in the position to appoint an extension officer, but nevertheless does cooperate very closely with technical staff of other institutions such as the Research Stations or Agra, in order to support us in rendering some advisory services. These officers are very much involved in communal areas and are conscious of the needs of communal breeders. They are also often present at shows or mini-shows, information days or meetings of farmers associations, where they can give advice.
The Manager of the NSBA is furthermore directly involved in rendering valuable advisory services at the offices of the NSBA. This service includes all technical and breeding aspects, buying and selling of breeding material, recommending breeding material according to the needs of a breeder and according to the performance of animals and all kinds of liaison work.
The outsourcing of Performance Testing by the MAWRD
The NSBA is very much concerned about the development of the Performance Testing Office, which is run by the MAWRD. In fact, the service of this office is increasingly hampered by inadequate staff, which finds it difficult to cope with the working load. Against this background, the NSBA was forced to look at alternatives and decided to implement the Australian "Breedplan" system for Namibian breeders. This system for beef cattle is recognised as the world's most advanced genetic evaluation system. Through this system, the NSBA would have access to world class Internet database enquiry and cataloguing services to promote Namibian genetics.
At this stage the NSBA is running the performance testing for all Brahman breeders in Namibia and certainly will encourage other breed societies to join the Breedplan system. Breedplan enables us to incorporate any other evaluation system, such as the South African Iris system.
A few years ago the NSBA entered into preliminary negotiations with the MAWRD, regarding the outsourcing of Performance Testing, but no finality was reached, because the State was of opinion that this function should remain with the MAWRD. At this stage no formal talks between the NSBA and the MAWRD, regarding the outsourcing, are in prospect.