Residents of Omusati Region that were making a living from businesses mostly based on popular free-range chickens have now ventured into selling recharge vouchers and cooked cow hooves, which are regarded as a delicacy, so that they can have an income after the business of free-range chickens was put on hold following an outbreak of Newcastle disease from Angola that has affected many chicken farmers in the region.
About 40 000 chickens in Omusati had to be vaccinated after the outbreak of Newcastle disease that killed over 1 000 chickens last week.
The highly contagious disease is suspected to have its origins in Angola from where chicken sellers sourced their birds for resale in Namibia, where demand is high for free-range chickens.
When New Era spoke to street vendors on Monday in Outapi that usually sell chickens, they could be seen selling recharge vouchers while some resorted to selling cattle offal as they have to pay for their children’s education and take care of their families.
Theresia Mwanyangapo said she has been selling chickens for two decades now and had been doing well financially.
“I bought a house from this business and I support my five children but now the business is idle, it is difficult to survive,” she said.
Mwanyangapo now sells MTC recharge vouchers at Ontimbu in Outapi, where she used to sell her chickens that she claims sold fast like hot cakes.
“At least the government must speed up the process – ninety days (moratorirum) are too many. We are facing the wedding season and this is the time we make money,” said Mwanyangapo.
Another chicken vendor who preferred not to be renamed also said that 90 days are too many and they are not sure that transporting chickens from Angola to Namibia would be allowed to continue.
Hilma Shivute, another chicken vendor who usually supplied chickens to other towns, said it is a pity that they cannot satisfy their customers now because the business is temporarily closed.
“I am very disappointed because the days are too many and we have no other source of income. Nevertheless, we can come up with something so that we pay our water and electricity,” said Shivute.
Shivute has now ventured into selling tripe and hooves that she sells as kapana in order to sustain her family.
She urged the government through the ministry of agriculture to also help with vaccines in Angola so that if the business commences no such disease would be brought into the country.
She said that if the border remains close after 90 days it would be difficult to succeed because they get cheaper chickens from Angola.
Shivute lost more than 60 chickens over the past two weeks.
Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia