Absence of rain worries Omaheke farmers

05 Nov 2013 11:50am
AMINUIS, 05 NOV (NAMPA) - The continuous absence of rain in the greater Omaheke Region has farmers worried, and fears of further livestock losses due to the drought are mounting.
Farmers in the region’s worst drought-stricken constituencies of Aminuis and Otjombinde have thus started preparing for the worst.
Aminuis farmers, most of whom are dependent on cattle-rearing for survival, can no longer milk their livestock due to the weak conditions they are in.
Many cattle slaughtered there due to the drought have been found with nothing but sand in their bellies, ostensibly from the constant foraging for insufficient and almost non-existent grazing.
Farmers told Nampa in separate interviews last week that next year could have an even worse drought outbreak if little or no rain is received during the start of the 2013/2014 rainy season, usually between October and April.
“We had it tough this year in terms of the drought, but we must consider that we were coming from a relatively better year in 2012 in terms of rainfall.
If the rain continues to stay away as it is now, and given 2013’s dry spell, we are in for a rude awakening come 2014,” farmer Edgard Hengari of the Otjomukona village in the Aminuis Constituency said.
Traditional leaders in Aminuis, many of whom have had to deal with constant pleas for assistance from desperate farmers fearing a total wipe-out of their livestock due to drought, have now resorted to a wait-and-see approach as they too ran out of ideas.
“We do not know what else to do. We hear the pleas of the people, and we know what they are going through.
We too are affected, but what can we do? Let us leave it all in God’s hands, as He is the One who brings the rain,” Othniel Kavari, a senior traditional leader based in Aminuis, told Nampa.
While weather experts have predicted a normal to above-normal rainfall for the better part of Namibia, such patterns are yet to take effect in the Omaheke Region.
Selling-off livestock to avoid the prevailing drought conditions, as per the call of Government, could have an even higher price tag for affected farmers because they risk restocking their livestock at much higher prices, as the prices are bound to stabilise at the height of the looming rainy season.