11 June 2019

Namibia: Drought - //Kharas Farmers Forced to Move Livestock

Steven Klukowski

KARASBURG - "We do not know if it will work," remarked Benedictus Ortman with uncertainty on whether moving his animals to other areas will be a solution to the devastating effects of the current severe drought.

He shares a communal farm, Graasholte, with other people in the far south of the country where they are on the brink of collapse."The condition of our poor animals are deteriorating by the day, which brings about pain in the heart for any farmer," said Ortman.

He said so far they have heard about financial assistance provided by government but that it did not yet reach them. "This is a very costly exercise since we have to pay both for the transport as well as the leasing of grazing land where we are relocating our animals to," said Martin Bezuidenhoudt who jointly farms with Ortman. He continued that they are anticipating to move close to 40 large livestock with heifers and 100 small livestock for a period of six months to areas of better grazing on a lease basis.

Both men echoed previous statements that many farmers quit farming after losing all their animals and subsequently migrate to urban areas. "The increase in stock theft has now became one of our biggest challenges on our farm," Bezuidenhoudt explained. He stated that this can be attributed to farmworkers who lost their jobs as a result of the drought and thus not having any means to survive.

"A farmer can only be called a true farmer once he survived a severe drought," these two farmers concluded.

In terms of the drought mitigation measures implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, farmers transporting animals to and from grazing areas as an emergency measure will be subsidized 50 percent of a kilometre tariff to a maximum of N$18.00/km for trucks and N$8.00/km for light delivery vehicles with trailers. In addition, trucks should only load 17 large livestock and/or 100 small livestock whereby the distances travelled should not exceed 500km. Alternatively, a 50 percent subsidy will be paid for the rent of livestock trailers, but it can only carry a maximum of 8 large livestock and/or 40 small livestock at a time.

In terms of the lease of grazing, farmers will qualify for a 50 percent subsidy of the lease fee, subjected to a maximum monthly amount of N$40.00 per large stock unit and N$5.00 per small livestock unit. Should they opt to use both benefits it should be in a relation of one large stock unit for every five small stock units combined.

Both these benefits are however subjected to more technical requirements which are available at the line ministry upon request.

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