N$300 million set aside for drought relief

15 Apr 2015 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 15 APR (NAMPA) - Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says Cabinet has reviewed an assessment report on the drought situation in the country and agreed on interim measures to be implemented over the next four months.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila made the remarks when she addressed staff members of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) for the first time here on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister (PM) was joined by the Deputy PM and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as well as Deputy Minister in the OPM, Christina //Hoebes.
“While still conducting a final assessment, the position of Government is that no one should die of hunger as a result of drought,” the PM said.
She called on staff members’ assistance to properly execute the drought relief programme, of which some resources have already been supplied by Government.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said N.dollars 300 million has been set aside, which was availed by the Emergency Management Fund and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
“We would be executing the range of measures that are required to make sure that this assistance is provided to the communities affected by the drought,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila explained.
She said her expectation is that staff members will render their assistance to ensure that the help is provided timeously, and that the assistance provided by the State of Namibia and donated by other states is managed properly.
“There should be no food getting rotten because it was locked up in warehouses while people are suffering from hunger,” the PM warned.
She also stated that staff members should not allow losses of food items as a result of theft and other vices.
“We should guard against that. Most importantly, we should ensure that the final assessment that still needs to be undertaken is concluded in time, so that if there is need for adjustment in the relief programme, it is done timeously and so that there won't be any disruptions in the process of providing drought relief,” she stressed.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) issued a report in early April, raising concerns of the prolonged dry spell and an erratic distribution of rainfall, which have hampered crop development in many areas.
The latest crop prospects, food security and drought situation report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry dated 15 March 2015, warned that national crop production is provisionally estimated at 88 900 metric tonnes, which is 33 per cent below average and nearly 30 per cent lower than last season.
The report also noted that auction pens in most of the country are filled to a level beyond buyers’ capacities, which has lead to a decrease in the prices of cattle and sheep, and left farmers complaining.