Namibia: Govt Intensifies Drought-Counter Offensive

The agriculture ministry will roll out drought mitigation measures from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2025 in a bid to safeguard and alleviate the impact on the livelihoods of affected communities and farmers, information minister Emma Theofelus announced.

The government spokesperson said this in a Cabinet statement issued recently, wherein the executive took a raft of decisions to face the impending and worsening drought that has its grip firmly tightened on most parts of the county.

On food assistance, "The Office of the Prime Minister [was directed] to continue with food assistance to beneficiaries who meet the set criteria, from July 2024 to June, 2025." For this, the government has set aside N$600 million.

"The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, as of May 2024, will introduce support to farmers to procure early-maturing seeds, drought-tolerant seed varieties, and fertilisers for sale at subsidised prices at Agricultural Development Centres," Theofelus said, adding that N$25 million has been earmarked for seeds and horticulture support interventions.

The government has also provided N$100 million for the livestock support programme as part of its drought counterattack.

This is to cater for subsidies for the lease of grazing, transportation to and from grazing areas, and subsidies on the purchase of animal feed from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025.

The sale of subsidised fodder to farmers through Agricultural Development Centres from 1 July to 31 December, will also be catered for under this budget.

On the water provision front, a further N$100 million has been allocated.

"The Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform [are directed] to continue with the water provision programme to drought-stricken areas," she said.

"Cabinet approved the increase of the livestock marketing incentive for large stock units from N$500 per head to N$750 per head, up to 75 heads, and for small stock units from N$100 per head to N$150 per head, up to 375 heads."

Cabinet also approved that the agriculture ministry to introduce a programme to

procure fodder, and sell it at subsidised prices through the Agricultural Development Centres, with funding to be sourced from the National Disaster Emergency Fund (NEDF).

The proceeds from the sale of the fodder will be re-channelled to NEDF for the sustainability of the programme, in consultation with the ministry of finance.

"Cabinet approved that payment modalities to address challenges in payment of the above-mentioned subsidies under the drought relief programme be assessed and submitted to Cabinet for its consideration

and endorsement. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform was directed to implement an awareness campaign to encourage farmers to destock while the livestock is still in good condition," she said.

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