10 Jun 2013 04:50
KOSIS, 10 JUN (NAMPA) - A communal farmer at Kosis village in the Karas Region has suggested that Government should consider providing feed for livestock as farmers are losing animals due to a lack of grazing caused by the drought conditions.
Bernardus Patrick Siebert is the principal of the Jan Samuel Herero Primary School at Kosis near Bethanie, but he also farms with goats, sheep and cattle.
Siebert told Nampa at the school on Thursday that the village has been hard-hit by drought, and farmers are losing livestock because of a lack of vegetation.
?People can always make a plan to get food when there is drought, but the situation is different for animals because when there is no food, and the owners cannot afford to buy feed for them, they will die. So, I think Government must identify communal farmers here who do not have an alternative income, and assist them with livestock feed,? he suggested.
Siebert said the drought situation is especially bad for those beneficiaries who received goats from the Namibia-German Special Initiative as they have already lost a number of goats, and this could drive them back into poverty.
?People received goats for self-empowerment, but that purpose will not be served if all the animals die because of drought. Something urgent must be done to keep things under control,? the farmer added.
Siebert said he has so far lost two goats, three sheep and two cows, despite constant efforts to buy feed for his animals.
?I am now buying milk to bottle-feed the calves left behind by the cows. I do not even know if they will survive. It is really tough for everyone here, the going has gotten tough in this village,? he stated.
This news agency also learned that one farmer here lost a whole herd of 50 sheep since the beginning of the year to the drought.
Asked whether relocating the livestock to other areas is not an option, Siebert said it is not easy to relocate animals in the communal areas, especially this year, when every traditional authority is trying to conserve grazing for their own people.
?We have nowhere to go because most of the villages have not received rain. Those who received a bit of rainfall are also cautious about welcoming us because then the area will be overgrazed,? he explained.
Last month after repeated calls by farmers for fodder subsidies from Government, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said Government is not in a position to provide fodder for all animals in the country.
He, however, stated that Government had decided to make subsidies available for those who may decide to sell off their animals.
Pohamba also appealed to farmers and other individuals who still have grazing to assist others, and said water should be made available in areas where grazing is still available.