26 Feb 2014 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 26 FEB (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has paid out nearly N.dollars 60 million to farmers since the implementation of the drought relief scheme last year.
In June 2013, Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa announced that Government would spend about N.dollars 50 million to assist farmers during the drought. Under the drought relief scheme, the ministry made provision for a marketing incentive scheme, a grazing subsidy when farmers lease land, as well as a transport subsidy to and from grazing areas during the drought.
Responding to emailed questions on Wednesday, the agriculture ministrys public relations officer, Margaret Kalo said the ministry has paid out a total amount of N.dollars 56 914 388,50 for the marketing incentive, lease of grazing and transport of cattle to farmers.
Claims are paid out as soon as the verification of forms is done. Already in early February this year, approximately 2 000 claims were paid out to farmers through Electronic Fund Transfer as well as in cash, in all 14 regions. Currently, we are still busy doing the verifications of the applications received, she stated.
The scheme was established after President Hifikepunye Pohamba in May 2013 declared a state of emergency over the drought situation. The incentive system aimed to encourage communal and commercial farmers to sell their livestock in order to reduce the high number of livestock exerting pressure on the poor grazing land during the drought.
Government then allocated N.dollars 200 million towards drought relief countrywide, including for the drilling of 40 boreholes.
Of the N.dollars 200 million, N.dollars 50 million was budgeted for the drought relief financial assistance programme.
Farmers who sold livestock as from 01 March 2013 and continue to sell livestock until the country recovers from the drought situation, received an amount of N.dollars 300 as an incentive on large livestock, and N.dollars 70 on small livestock.
Farmers who transport livestock from drought-stricken areas to better grazing areas situated within 500 kilometres received N.dollars 16 per animal for transport-related expenses.
Meanwhile, some farmers expressed mixed feelings about the scheme and accused Government of not fulfilling its promise to assist farmers during the drought.