Farmers in Okakrara losing cattle to poisonous leaves

15 Aug 2016 07:30am
OKAKARARA, 15 AUG (NAMPA) - Farmers have lost more than 200 animals, particularly in the Outemba village of the Okakarara Constituency, due to a poisonous plant known as ‘poison leaf’ or ‘Otjikuruoma’ in Otjiherero.
This deadly plant claims an estimated 200 cattle annually in Okakarara.
Livestock eat the leaves of these plants causing death within four to 24 hours if the animal drinks water after ingesting the plant.
In an interview with Nampa on Saturday, Okakarara Constituency Councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu said the poisonous plant germinates during dry seasons, thus attracting a multitude of animals to eat it.
He said farmers are not compensated by Government when they lose livestock to the poisonous plant.
“There is no way they can claim and Government cannot compensate them for that as no alternative has been discussed yet on what to do with the wild plant.”
He further said many farmers have to walk their animals more than 20 kilometres to the nearest water points, such as in the Branchline 5 area, which covers the Okamatipati and Otjituo settlements.
The councillor revealed that they are in discussions with the Namibia water corporation (NamWater) to drill boreholes in the area.
“Currently, the council is busy developing a 40-kilometre virgin land to resettle farmers, which will be divided into farm units and a borehole will be drilled to provide water for the farmers.”
Kandorozu added that farmers have enough grazing land despite the water shortage.
“There is no overgrazing but there is shortage of water.”