02 Aug 2013 07:30
OTJIWARONGO, 02 AUG (NAMPA) Over 300 communal farmers in Okakarara have applied for drought-relief financial assistance from Government.
Okakararas Senior Agricultural Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Boiki Kaapehi told Nampa on enquiry Friday that a total of 311 farmers have submitted their applications to his offices at Okakarara and Okondjatu since 01 July 2013.
All of the 311 application forms have been handed over to the Otjiwarongo Regional Agricultural Extension offices for processing and payment, said Kaapehi.
He said out of the 311 applicants, four farmers applied for drought assistance after they had transported livestock from their original communal grazing areas to better grazing places within the Okakarara Constituency.
Of the remaining 307 applicants - 157 from the Okakarara communal grazing area and 150 from Okondjatu applied for marketing incentives after they sold their livestock during the period between 01 March and July this year.
Some communal farmers in the Okakarara Constituency claiming from the drought-relief financial assistance had only sold one goat or a cow each, said Kaapehi.
The highest claim is for the sale of 61 heads of cattle since March this year.
Kaahepi said his office is faced with a challenge of farmers lacking necessary supporting documents.
Some farmers claim to have sold their livestock to neighbours who could not issue them with receipts as proof of sale to support their applications, he said.
No commercial farmer has so far applied for assistance in the area of Okakarara, and applications for drought relief assistance continue.
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 countrywide, including the drilling of 40 boreholes.
The Otjozondjupa Chief Agricultural Extension Officer in the MAWF, Frans Hango told Nampa in July this year that Government through the MAWF will spend N.dollars 50 million on drought-relief financial assistance programmes.
The programmes are aimed at encouraging communal and commercial farmers to sell their livestock in order to reduce the high numbers of livestock exerting too much pressure on the poor grazing lands during this drought.
Hango said farmers who sold livestock as from 01 March 2013 and continue to sell livestock 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 places situated in within 500 kilometres in the country, will also be assisted with N.dollars 16 per herd of livestock-per kilometre on transport-related expenses.
Hango said the only thing which is needed from farmers selling their livestock is proof of sale, in this could be invoices if one farmer sells livestock at auction pens or to any livestock buying agent within or outside the country.
Duplicates of the livestock movement permits obtained from the MAWF; Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) is also needed to be attached to the application forms.