8 February 2013

Namibia: Drought Ravages Aminuis Constituency

Photo: Chris Simpson/IRIN
Farmers are concerned about the survival of their livestock due to the poor rainfall (file photo).

Leonardville — Farmers in the drought-ravaged Aminuis Constituency in the Omaheke Region are very concerned about the survival of their livestock due to the poor rainfall experienced this year.

According to the Councillor of the Aminuis Constituency Erwin Uanguta, the area finds itself in the grip of a debilitating drought, because of very poor and at best erratic rainfall experienced so far.

"Since we did not receive rainfall this year, most water sources have begun to dry up. Animals have no water to drink and waterholes are dry, causing cows with calves to die," lamented Uanguta.

He said farmers are forced to sell their animals at prices far below the market value in order to buy fodder and other supplements to sustain their remaining herds.

He said he has already requested the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to provide any assistance it can to prevent farmers from suffering further losses.

"The ministry has already assigned its officials to the area to assess the prevailing conditions. The officials were here already and hopefully they have submitted a report to the minister," he said.

Uanguta said farmers are awaiting a response from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry with bated breath before the situation worsens.

He also highlighted the fact that people did not receive enough drought relief food this year and they depend entirely on their livestock for subsistence.

Uanguta said his constituency has a population of close to 14 000 people who have so far received inadequate drought relief rations. He said preference is mostly given to the minority San communities, who in most cases do not own any cattle and goats and are destitute.

"The food relief aid within Aminuis is channeled mainly towards the San communities, and not others within the drought-hit areas who are also sufferers," said Uanguta. He urged government to provide enough food relief to all people affected by the drought and not only to marginalised communities.

He also noted that there is high unemployment within the constituency, which causes poverty. According to Uanguta poverty could be the main cause for the escalating scourge of stock theft, which has increased drastically since 2012.

Uanguta says those involved in stock theft usually slaughter the animals to sell the meat in faraway places like Windhoek where the demand for beef is high.

"People do not only steal livestock to make kapana in the area, but they steal to transport the meat to other places to make more money," he said.

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