Drought in Omatjete continues

22 Mar 2017 14:40pm
SWAKOPMUND, 22 MAR (NAMPA) – Communal farmers at Omatjete in the Erongo Region might lose even more livestock in the next few months as the area has not yet received any significant rainfall this year.
The area has been affected by drought for the past four years.
Fabianus Uaseuapuani, senior councillor and spokesperson of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority under which Omatjete falls, told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Wednesday they received little rain in February, but none so far this month.
“The rain came very late, other areas received rain from December last year. The grass here did not grow enough to be able to sustain livestock until next year.”
The traditional leader said people in the area are worried about the effects of the drought and do not know what to do.
Uaseuapuani said some farmers left with their livestock for Omaheke and Otjozondjupa last year in search of grazing.
He advised them to stay there until the situation in Omatjete normalises.
“Maybe we can sustain small livestock with the grass we have now, but not cattle,” he said.
Uaseuapuani himself lost 15 heads of cattle and knows of farmers who lost 20 cattle last year.
About 6 000 communal farmers are affected by the drought in areas such as Ozondati and Okaumbaha.
In July last year, over 1 200 farmers in Erongo received lucerne and dry grass from the Erongo Regional Council and First National Bank (FNB) Namibia.
The two institutions donated over N.dollars 2.2 million and local business people also bought fodder for the farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry introduced a drought marketing incentive scheme during the 2015/2016 financial year through which they paid out more than N.dollars 45 million.
Farmers were assisted to market their animals through the scheme, lease grazing areas and transport their livestock to better grazing areas identified by the farmers themselves.
The ministry also introduced a drought relief subsidy through which farmers qualify for N.dollars 400 per large livestock (cattle) up to a maximum of 200 animals and N.dollars 80 per small livestock (goats and sheep) up to a maximum of 1 000 animals, or a combination of both.