8 November 2018

Namibia: Drought Kills Over 300 Livestock in Aminius

Windhoek — With the prolonged drought in Aminius Constituency in Omaheke Region, more than 300 livestock have died as farmers watch their animals helplessly succumb to famine.

The deplorable situation has forced many farmers in the area to relocate their animals to other constituencies as well as to other regions, especially Otjozondjupa, for better grazing.

In an interview with New Era yesterday, Aminius Constituency Councillor Peter Kazongominja revealed the shocking statistics, saying the condition of the livestock has deteriorated since February this year due to persistent drought.

He revealed that more than 17 000 livestock have been moved out of Aminius to other areas in order for farmers to save them from the drought.

"The animals are in a very deplorable condition. The condition has not improved because there is no assistance rendered yet. The farmers with little in the pocket are importing grass all over Namibia.

They drive and go get it because animals are helpless now. The animals are dying and many farmers have written them off," Kazongominja said.

The drought has largely been attributed to a lack of rainfall last year and this year, unlike other parts of the country where livestock are in good conditions and farmers are also enjoying their wheat and mahangu surpluses as they received good showers.

"There is water shortage in the area. Government has intervened and they are busy rehabilitating the old boreholes. There are two to three boreholes that government need to drill because the water levels for some boreholes have become too low, so they are looking for new ones to drill," the Councillor stated.

Another bone of contention he highlighted is bush encroachment in the area.

He says there is too much bushes which makes grazing so difficult and farmers cannot de-bush due to the government's moratorium put in place not to de-bush in the country.

He said he brought the issue of bush encroachment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry but did not receive any feedback for farmers to de-bush the area.

Last month, Cabinet has endorsed the recommendations by the Office of the Prime Minister to support the affected communities.

Cabinet endorsed the provision of 7 000 bags of wheat donated by the government of Japan and maize meal to address food shortages to the food insecure population from 1 October 2018 to 31 January 2019.

"The wheat we get from government... we say thank you. The San project has also improved in delivering food to the needy and marginalised communities. But the condition overall has not changed because its just the wheat we have and its not enough as its just one bag per household," he noted.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology Engel Nawatiseb said identification and registration of food insecure households, using the given criteria, and mobilisation of distribution tools will be considered in preparation for the actual distribution through the Omaheke Regional Council.

He stated Cabinet took note the period of drought relief assistance to the affected households will be extended until end of January 2019.

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