31 May 2013 08:50
OKOMUKARU, 31 MAY (NAMPA) - Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob has called for the fast-tracking of projects and programmes aimed at lessening the burden of drought on farmers in the Omaheke Region.
He said Government officials should relax all set procedures and set aside normal practices, which often result in bureaucratic clogs, in order to assist farmers in some of the country?s drought-stricken regions.
Geingo was speaking during a whirlwind visit to some villages in the Aminuis Constituency of the Omaheke Region on Thursday, where he met with traditional leaders and farmers to assess the impact of the ongoing drought in the region first-hand.
He then registered his disappointment with the apparent slow pace of drought response efforts, and implored on those responsible to hasten the process in the interest of hundreds of people whose livelihoods are sorely dependent on farming.
He also took a swipe at the high cost of drilling boreholes meant for drought relief, saying such costs were not justifiable, given the vast availability of water in the Aminuis Constituency.
?There is just no way such high costs of drilling can be justified. We need to seriously look into this matter, and make sure that Government is not paying such exhorbitant amounts of money for nothing. Let us reduce the costs where we can,? urged the Premier.
About N.dollars 3 million has so far been spent on the drilling of boreholes in the Aminuis Constituency alone, while only a fraction of the total number of boreholes had already been developed.
Geingob also used the opportunity to caution farmers against tendencies which might imply that Government was not doing enough to address the scourge of drought in the Omaheke Region.
Chief Berthold Tjiundje of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority in Aminuis, who was also present during the Premier?s visit, called on Government to urgently respond to the plight of Omaheke residents, just as it responds to flood emergencies in the north of the country.
Geingob, however, said such statements would mislead the nation into believing Government only cares for a certain part of the country, while it in fact equally caters for the entire country.
?We should do away with such tendencies. What if people now start asking why I visited Omaheke, and not any other region or area that is equally affected by drought? Namibia is one, and should be regarded as such,? he stressed.
He then promised to work closely with farmers in the area to address the effects of the prevailing drought - regarded by climate experts as the worst in over a decade.
Geingob visited three villages in Aminuis, being Okomumbonde, Jakkals Draai and Otjituve before flying to Otjinene on the same day, where a similar briefing session was held.