No drought relief applications from ministers

09 Jul 2013 06:20
OTJIWARONGO, 09 JUL (NAMPA) - None of the national leaders, including ministers, farming with livestock in the Otjozondjupa Region have applied for drought relief assistance from Government.
This was the view of the Chief Agricultural Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) for Otjozondjupa, Frans Hango in an interview with Nampa on Tuesday.
Some of the national leaders with farms in the Otjozondjupa Region are Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob, Minister of Defence Nahas Angula, Swapo-Party Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba and Veterans? Affairs Minister Dr Nickey Iyambo.
Hango explained that Government introduced the drought relief assistance programme to motivate farmers to sell their livestock in order to reduce the number of livestock in the country during this year?s drought situation.
He oversees all the application processes of the drought relief programme in the Otjozondjupa Region.
By Monday at 12h00, about 25 farmers had submitted their application forms at his office in Otjiwarongo.
The list of applicants was still dominated by white commercial farmers, Hango stressed.
In an interview with Nampa last week, the official said German commercial farmers who own farms in the Otjozondjupa Region but reside in Germany have applied for drought relief assistance from the Namibian Government.
Out of 22 farmers who submitted applications last week, six were upcoming commercial farmers from the black community.
According to 2011 statistics from the MAWF?s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), there are about 134 000 cattle in the communal areas in the region.
More than 225 000 cattle are kept in enclosed commercial farms here.
In May this year, President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a state of emergency over the drought situation, and also called for assistance from the international community.
Government then allocated N.dollars 200 million towards drought relief programmes countrywide, including the drilling of 40 boreholes.
Government, through the MAWF, will spend N.dollars 50 million of the N.dollars 200 million on its drought relief incentive programmes countrywide.
Hango explained that farmers who sold livestock as from 01 March 2013 and continue to do so until the country recovers from the drought situation, will receive 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 situated within 500 kilometres will also receive assistance of N.dollars 16 per head of livestock per kilometre towards transport-related expenses.
The only thing needed from the farmers selling livestock is their proof of sale, said Hango.
These can be in the form of invoices, such as those provided when a farmer sells animals to an auction pen or to a livestock buying agent both within or outside the country.
Duplicates of livestock movement permits obtained from the DVS should also be attached to the application forms.
Contacted for comment on who qualifies for Government drought relief financial assistance, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said all farmers on communal and commercial farms qualifies.
?However, the decision to apply or not to apply for the assistance is the individual decision of a farmer,? Mutorwa told this news agency on Monday afternoon.