Botswana: Masisi Declares 2018/19 Drought Year

Gaborone — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared 2018/19 a drought year following consideration of the drought and household food security assessment and analysis report.

A press release from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says the assessment indicated that the 2018/19 rainfall season was characterised by poor rains both over most parts of the country during the first half.

Even worse, the release says, some districts did not even receive their onsets.

It says the unevenly distributed rains, heat waves and dry spells that prevailed throughout the season resulted in lower hectarage planted and crop failure.

Livestock condition has decreased from good to fair and is expected to deteriorate given the current grazing and water situations, says the release.

It further states that livelihoods of a significant number of rural households remain vulnerable and thus the need for government's intervention.

The ministry will therefore implement some relief measures, actions and assistance such as restocking of the Strategic Grain Reserve to augment the 98 per cent estimated cereal deficit, increasing current livestock subsidy for feeds (inclusive of high energy feeds for mature animals and protein feeds for young ones) by the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security.

Another relief measure will see Ministry of Finance and Economic Development paying 85 per cent of loans to farmers who obtained seasonal loans from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency and National Development Bank through the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue with the implementation of direct feeding in health facilities (clinics and health posts) presenting with high rates of total underweight (10 per cent and above) and introduce a special food basket to children at all mobile stops in districts presenting high rates of total underweight (10 per cent and above).

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will provide supplementary feeding in all primary schools, single supplementary feeding ration for children aged 6-59 months with normal nutritional status, double supplementary feeding ration for moderately and severely underweight children aged 6-59 months.

The same ministry will continue with the implementation of urgent basic food relief packages to deserving residents of North East, Mabutsane, North West, Okavango and Kgalagadi.

All the measures will be implemented with effect from July 1 to June 30 next year, says the release.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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