Resettled San community uncertain about farming

13 Nov 2013 17:40pm
LIKWATERERA, 13 NOV (NAMPA) – The small San community at the Likwaterera settlement in the Kavango East Region is not actively participating in subsistence farming this ploughing season due to a lack of implements which would have made their work easier.
The 125 members of the community, most of whom are originally from the villages of Mazana and Kambowo in the Rundu Rural East Constituency, were relocated to Likwaterera, some 75 kilometres away, in 2010 by the Kavango Regional Council with the aim of getting them to actively participate in farming activities in order to become self-sustainable.
While other communities in the area are preparing their mahangu fields in view of the ploughing season currently underway here, these marginalised members of the community are uncertain about their farming activities because they do not have oxen, which were promised to them earlier this year. They only have five ploughs, which they share amongst themselves.
These ploughs were donated to them by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in early 2011.
The community was promised 18 oxen and other equipment needed for ploughing by Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku during his visit here in June this year.
The oxen were supposed to have been delivered by September this year.
According to them, they previously borrowed an ox from neighbours, but by the time the ox was free for their use, the rainy season suitable for ploughing was almost coming to an end.
“We want to start clearing our fields, but we don’t have livestock,” said Brinadete Cance, one of the Likwaterera resettlement committee members.
Approached for comment on the community’s plight, Rundu Rural East Constituency Councillor Michael Shikongo told Nampa on Wednesday that most San people previously never owned any livestock due to their nomadic lifestyle of moving from one place to another, and by working for others.
Shikongo said the community has also been requesting his office to put up a water tap in their area as the nearest boreholes are about 1,5km away.
An official in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) told this reporter on condition of the customary anonymity that although the OPM promised to provide the San community with oxen, it currently does not have money to purchase such livestock.
Hausiku, who pledged the oxen, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday as he was apparently locked up in meetings with Prime Minister Hage Geingob.
The San shifted their households there after a promise that Government would assist them with farming implements so that they could move away from working for others as a means of survival.
The community had their first harvest of mahangu, maize and beans in 2011 - one year after being relocated there, and that has been their only harvest since.
In 2012, they did not produce any food from their field, citing a lack of implements such as hoes, ploughs as well as animals like oxen which would make crop-farming easier.