Swakopmund — Governor of the Erongo Region Cleophas Mutjavikua and several councillors in the region have appealed to government to avail farms belonging to the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) for resettlement purposes.
They also want recently bought farms to be used for drought-stricken farmers as a response strategy for the recurrent drought.
This appeal was made during a consultative meeting held on Friday with the Deputy Prime Minister who also serves as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Karibib Constituency councillor Melania Ndjago during the meeting said government should also consult with white farmers to help out farmers that are the hardest hit by the severe drought.
"A few white farmers have been helpful and even assist corridor farmers with water and grazing but you find those that simply put a padlock on their farm gates despite their fellow men suffering. Also, we have farms in the Karibib area that belong to the NDF that only have "No trespassing signs". They are not in use why can they not allow our desperate farmers to graze there for the time being," further suggested the Karibib councillor.
Mutjavikua on his part said Erongo is hit hardest by the drought with several settlements such as Omatjete already being confronted with water. Currently, he says water is being transported via trucks, as boreholes are dry.
He says the situation will also soon be experienced by residents of Omaruru and Uis who heavily rely on groundwater for human consumption.
"At this stage, we are battling just to make sure our people have enough to drink, however, cattle is our biggest concern as there is simply not water nor grazing. The other region might have one or two areas of grazing to mitigate the drought. Erongo just don't have anything," Mutjavikua explained.
According to Mutjavikua, some farmers have already started with the relocation of animals between Otjwarongo and Karibib out of desperation.
"Some of them are already impounded in Otjiwarongo seeking grazing there and that is the situation. There is no way we can keep them both small livestock and cattle," said Mutjavikua Hence, he says farms recently bought for resettlement purposes be kept for now to mitigate the severe drought the region is facing. "That is my humble request. We need to use unorthodox methods for now. Let us allow our corridor farmers to at least take their cattle to these farms as a temporary measure," he said. According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, all Namibians are required to make an effort to mitigate drought to make sure that no one die during this period.
She also said she will take up the request made by councillors with regards to resettlement and NDF farms to the relevant ministry, to see if the programmes can be put on hold to accommodate desperate farmers. "As for the white owned farms, they are private property, however, one can consult with farmers and see how best they can assist those in need," she said.