Over 500 farmers apply for Government drought-relief assistance

16 Aug 2013 07:40
OTJIWARONGO, 16 AUG (NAMPA) – The application forms of over 500 Otjiwarongo livestock farmers for financial assistance from Government during the ongoing drought, have been processed.
Farmers in the Otjozondjupa Region started applying for Government drought-relief incentives on 01 July 2013 at agricultural extension district offices situated at Tsumkwe, Grootfontein, Okahandja, Okakarara and Otjiwarongo.
Otjozondjupa Chief Agricultural Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Frans Hango told Nampa on Friday morning the forms have been handed over to their headquarters in Windhoek for scrutiny.
He said once the MAWF in Windhoek completes that process, the forms will be submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), from where payment is made.
“I am certain the MAWF is towards the end of scrutinising these application forms, and soon they will be handed over to the OPM for payment,” said Hango, adding that payment would be done electronically to farmers’ bank accounts.
Over 4 000 large livestock, and 1 000 small livestock have been sold so far in the region due to the drought conditions.
After selling the animals, the owners then applied for the marketing incentive offered by Government as part of its drought-relief financial assistance scheme.
Some communal farmers in the Okakarara Constituency claiming from the financial scheme only sold one goat or a cow, while one commercial farmer in Otjiwarongo submitted an application claiming to have sold 770 cattle.
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 areas situated in within 500 kilometres, will also be assisted with N.dollars 16 per animal on transport-related expenses.
“All that is needed from the farmers selling their livestock is proof of sale,” said Hango in an earlier interview.
Duplicates of the livestock movement permits obtained from the MAWF’s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) should also be attached to the application forms.
The incentive system is aimed at encouraging 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 this drought.
The scheme was established after President Hifikepunye Pohamba, in May this year, declared a state of emergency over the drought situation.
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 will be spent on the drought-relief financial assistance programme.