WINDHOEK, 16 MAY (NAMPA) - The drought situation currently ravaging the country has prompted Government to distribute seedlings to communal farmers.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Joseph Iita made this announcement during a meeting led by Prime Minister Hage Geingob with Regional Governors on the implementation of the Cabinet decision on the Comprehensive Drought Relief Programme for the 2013/14 financial year on Wednesday.
Iita said mahangu seeds will be produced at the Sikondo and Etunda Green Scheme irrigation projects, as well as at the Bigani, Omahenene, Mannheim and Mashare research stations.
It will then be distributed to communal farmers at the onset of the next cropping season.
Provisional estimates indicate that all communal crop-producing regions expect extremely below- average harvests, with the Omusati Region the hardest-hit with 69 per cent below average and 59 per cent below last season?s yield.
The Ohangwena Region expects 49 per cent below average, and 31 per cent lower than last season; Kavango 51: per cent below average, and 17 per cent below last season; Oshikoto: 33 per cent below average, and 41 per cent lower than last year; Caprivi: 33 per cent below average, and nine per cent above average last year; Oshana 28 per cent below average and 47 per cent lower than last season.
Iita said poor crop harvests are mainly due to drought in most parts of the communal crop producing regions as well as an army worm outbreak in some parts of the north-central and north-eastern regions.
Production estimates from the commercial areas under the rain-fed conditions have also shown a sharp decrease in the expected harvest due to drought.
Iita said the crop assessment team is currently in the field in order to compile the final cereal crop estimates.