Namibia Loses 60 000 Livestock to Drought

THE country lost more than 60 000 livestock to drought-induced famine this year, agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb has said.

!Naruseb announced the figure during a consultative meeting prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had with regional governors and chief regional officers last Wednesday.

Without mentioning the exact numbers of livestock that have perished per region, the minister said the Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Erongo and //Kharas regions recorded the highest number of livestock lost due to the current drought.

Addressing the meeting, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said so far N$131 million has been spent on drought relief, with N$16,6 million spent on fodder for livestock.

She said of the N$595,2 million earmarked for the drought relief programme, N$112 million will be spent on fodder procurement.

"The challenges related to reliance on conventional grazing of animals during this drought has alerted us to the need to adopt more innovative and drought-resilient methods," she said.

The prime minister further noted that the government acknowledges the introduction of the hydroponic system, which produces fodder in seven days and could feed many cattle. It has therefore approved a subsidy scheme to support small-scale farmers who want to venture into non-mechanised fodder production.

The government also plans to train farmers in hydroponic fodder production.

"I urge our farmers to approach the ministry of agriculture offices to participate in the scheme," she said.

The state of emergency declared for the drought was set to lapse on 5 October 2019, but Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Wednesday said she would table a motion in the National Assembly to have it extended for another six months.

- Nampa

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