Rains have little effect on recovering grazing

18 Jan 2016 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 18 JAN (NAMPA) - Some of the rain received as from late last year in various parts of the country has had little effect on the recovery of grazing in Namibia.
Since the beginning of the 2015/2016 rainy season in October 2015, rainfall has been virtually absent across the entire country, except in a few places where light to moderate showers were received.
The Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation Report issued for December 2015 and made available by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) last week said this has increased the detrimental effects of drought on grazing and water resources, and subsequently livestock conditions.
“Some good showers received in early December last year in various parts of the country are said to have little effect on the recovery of grazing, because there were no follow-up rains thereafter,” it noted.
A worrisome picture is that of the Kunene Region, where the grazing condition is extremely poor since 2012.
According to the report, many farmers are losing livestock on a daily basis as a result of the current drought. Water availability was also reported to be a cause for concern among farmers as many boreholes are drying up.
In the Zambezi Region, pasture conditions were reported to range between poor and fair along the riverside and very poor to poor in the inland. Many farmers have moved some of their livestock to the riverside in search of better grazing conditions.
For the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, grazing was reported to be poor on the east and very poor on the west as a result of drought. However, the regions noted with a great concern the incidences of veld fires in the inland and this resulted in very poor grazing conditions in the affected areas.
The north-central regions which include Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto reported poor grazing conditions since the severe drought conditions experienced last season. Water availability for livestock was also noted to be a challenge in most areas.
Meanwhile, in the central part of the country, grazing has deteriorated in both communal and commercial areas of the Otjozondjupa Region.
In the Omaheke Region, grazing was reported to have depleted in the communal areas but is slightly better in the commercial areas.
In the Erongo Region, very poor grazing conditions were reported in most areas, with Omatjete in the Daures Constituency being the hardest hit. Water supply is very poor as some boreholes are reportedly yielding low or salty water and in some areas some boreholes have dried up.
In the southern regions, poor grazing conditions continue to be reported in the //Karas Region, as about 80 to 90 per cent of the grazing is said to have been depleted.
In the Hardap Region, the grazing condition was reported to have reached a critical stage, where many small and large stocks are reported to have died due to severe drought conditions last year.
Namibia has a growing and vibrant livestock sector which is composed of about two million cattle, four million goats and 2.6 million sheep, according to statistics issued by the Agriculture Ministry last year.
Government implemented a marketing incentive scheme on 01 March 2015 and this will last until the drought situation has normalised, or until the budget of N.dollars 60 million is depleted, whichever comes first. Only farmers who sell their livestock qualify for the scheme, while farmers who buy livestock for farming, speculation and joint venture purposes - with exception of farmers who buy male breeding stock - will be disqualified.