New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Drought Can Create Employment

Ongwediva — The drought ravaging Namibian communities could also be viewed as a blessing in disguise to hundreds of unemployed youth, the Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku said on his recent visit to the north.

Hausiku advised local millers and regional council and constituency offices to make use of unemployed youth to mill, offload and pack drought relief food at regional warehouses.

Hausiku said the country has a number of unemployed youth who should participate in the process of making food available to all Namibians affected by drought. Apart from the youth, local millers will also immensely benefit from the situation.

Hausiku said instead of importing maize meal, government has contracted local millers to mill and deliver maize meal to government regional warehouses.

"You should know that this opportunity only comes once in a life time. We have so many unemployed youth in the streets. We should bring in the youth to help. People should work double shifts to make sure that food gets to people on time," Hausiku said to local businessman Vilho Nghipondoka, owner of Omhalanga Mills, when visiting the Oshana Regional Council warehouse in Oshakati.

Omhalanga Mills is contracted to mill maize for Oshana and Omusati regions. This is in addition to other millers in the country that are expected to supply maize meal to other regions.

Based on the number of people who registered for food relief in the two regions, Omhalanga alone would have to dedicate at least 3 512 metric tons of maize meal a month to drought. This is more than 35 percent the country's normal capacity of 10 000 metric tons.

Nghipondoka said he and his people would have to mill at least 100 metric tons of maize meal a day in order to meet the demand.

Omhalanga have also employed 20 people more on a short term contract, in addition to over 50 people that are already employed. This is with the purpose of helping to accelerate the process.

Apart from the millers and the people that will be offloading the food, a number people have already leased out their vehicles to help with the distribution.

"Government has decided to address the issue of drought with every possible resource. We have the people, we have the capacity, we will mobilise the resources and get friends to help us. All we need to do is to organise ourselves and have proper coordination among us," said Hausiku.

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