28 February 2013

Namibia: Drought Kills Animals in Kunene

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

FARMERS in the north-western Kunene Region are troubled by an alarming shortage of grazing and water for livestock.

"There is nothing, cattle are mostly hard hit by the drought as there is little grazing available," Kaptein Daniel Luiperdt of the Swartbooi Traditional Authority told The Namibian.

According to Luiperdt some farmers in the area have moved their cattle into road corridors because no grazing is available in their camps, while others have sold their cattle at auction.

Pieter Ruiter of the farm Eie Risiko, 33 kilometres from Khorixas, said there is no grazing left for the animals. "The farmers try to buy feed but it's not enough. We must we get help from the government."

Hendrik Afrikaner, a farmer at Rushof 70 kilometres from Khorixas, said they have had no rain this season and livestock have started dying in their area. "Two horses and four cows have already died at Rushof," Afrikaner said.

Rushof's water is not suitable for human consumption and the people living there fetch drinking water from a nearby farm.

"Goats don't have milk due to the lack of grazing and kids die regularly," Afrikaner said.

Sesfontein Constituency councillor Hendrik Goabaeb said "there is no hope, livestock have started to die".

A delegation of Sesfontein farmers met officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry last week at Opuwo to discuss the drought crisis they face.

Aodaman Traditional Authority Chief Petrus Ukongo said the drought has reached "extreme" levels in his area and that he was informed of some animal deaths.

Ukongo said in the past farmers moved to other areas, but in some areas with good grazing no water is available. "We cannot move people to areas without water."

Both Ukongo and Kunene state veterinarian Shepherd Kamudyariwa advised farmers to sell their unproductive livestock and save money which can be used to buy back livestock when conditions get better.

Although exact figures were not available of the number of animals that have died so far, it is above 50 in the whole of Kunene Region, The Namibian understands.

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