7 February 2019

Namibia: Drought Eats Deeper Into Omaheke Flesh

Windhoek — The El Nino-induced drought that ravaged the entire Sadc region in recent years has killed an unspecified number livestock in the Omaheke Region, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

This is according to Otjinene Constituency Councillor Erwin Katjizeu.

The region, popularly known as the 'cattle country' due to is impressive farming record, is home to the majority of commercial farming activities in the country. However, farmers in the region have in recent years been feeling the full wrath of lack of rain - leaving huge populations of cattle, goats and sheep dead.

Katjizeu, speaking to New Era, said drought has affected the constituency in a devastating manner and help from government has been lethargic.

"Otjinene so far hasn't got any help, though my office is looking for ways to help farmers overcome drought," he said.

"We will engage the government to help with de-bushing through community forestry as this will ease pressure on the current forest situation at hand and create jobs for the farmers," he added.

Katjizeu said if government could provide two fodder machines that farmers can use to make fodder from the bushes it will ease the burden of purchasing fodder for the hungry animals.

"Farmers associations then can buy and sell molatek and other fodder for a cheap price to farmers to mix with the fodder the farmers made from bushes," he suggested.

"Communal farmers need to be educated on the dangers and risks fences have on the field. They need to be told not to have big camps in communal areas," he added.

Katjizeu said the farmers also have to move to virgin areas in Otjinene and set up cattle posts so that grazing can recover in their area. In an interview with New Era late last year, Aminuis Constituency Councillor Peter Kazongominja revealed shocking statistics, saying the condition of the livestock has deteriorated since February the same year due to persistent drought.

He revealed that more than 17 000 livestock have been moved out of Aminuis to other areas in order 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 at the time.

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