Omuthiyagwiipundi — Lack of coordination and cooperation between farmers and constituency offices has led to the delay in delivery of the drought relief fodder in Oshikoto Region.
This has been coupled with limited transport as well as mechanical problems experienced with the available fleet, which led to a preliminary halt of the drought programme.
Regional coordinator for the distribution committee in Oshikoto, Izak Nghaamwa, however said yesterday that the process started again as they have sourced new vehicles.
The situation nearly worsened when it started raining, raising fears the bales of grass, piled up at the regional council offices waiting for distribution will get spoiled due to water.
On the other hand, desperate community members are agitated by the delay, to which Nghaamwa appealed for calm, explaining the delay is not entirely blamed on their part, apart from the broken fleet of vehicles. He on the other hand accused farmers whom he said, are unwilling to come and collect the fodder despite having being informed about the challenges being experienced.
Nghaamwa also noted the slow-paced selection process from the constituency offices, saying some constituencies have not yet provided the requisite beneficiary list.
The committee is already on a third round of distribution, while farmers in some constituencies have not even benefitted from the first round of distributions.
Constituencies that are still to receive are such as Eengodhi, Nehale Lya Mpingana and Onayena, as well Guinas which by virtue of being beyond the red line makes it impossible to transport to those areas. As a result, only two farmers whose farms are north of the redline have benefitted.
"Some of the people complaining are those farmers who have not qualified, hence looking at the bales piled up in the premises makes them feel it is left for waste, while that's not the case. We have managed to secure two new trucks to be used, the delay however came as we still had to obtain fuel cards from the Office of the Prime Minister for the new fleet, which we have now received and the process has been reactivated," stressed Nghaamwa.
"With the two trucks, we are now doing two constituencies in a day as opposed to before. The biggest challenge is with farmers who are failing to come collect their fodder, not even from their respective constituencies," he added.
Furthermore, he said in some constituencies it was noted that some beneficiaries placed on the list do not qualify as they have many livestock as per requirement. While some say the requirement process is cumbersome.
Government criteria dictates that, farmers who have 26 large stock units of cattle and 130 small stock units which include goats and sheep qualify to benefit from the fodder given for livestock support.
There are 18 000 drought affected households in Oshikoto which translates to over 211 000 severely hit individuals.