Relocated San community give up on farming

06 Feb 2014 14:10pm
LIKWATERERA, 06 FEB (NAMPA) – Members of the small San community at the Likwaterera settlement in the Kavango East Region are still not participating actively in subsistence farming because of a lack of equipment to do so.
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 (km) 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 most communities in the area are about to finish ploughing their mahangu fields, these marginalised members of the community are sitting idle in their resettlement area.
The Rundu Rural East Constituency Councillor Michael Shikongo told Nampa on Thursday that he encouraged the community members to start preparing their fields late last year with the hope that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) would assist them with oxen and implements needed for them to farm.
The Rundu Rural East Councillor indicated that the OPM promised to buy 18 oxen for the San community which would assist them in their farming.
Shikongo is now concerned that some of the community members might abandon the resettlement area in search of food elsewhere.
He said there are currently eight ploughs and hoes which are supposed to share amongst the community members during ploughing.
The ploughs were donated to them by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in early 2011.
They also have three 50 kilogramme (kg) bags of maize seeds given to them by the Kavango Regional Council, which they are planning on keeping until they get the oxen.
Members of surrounding communities are apparently reluctant to assist the San community because they provided them with oxen in 2011 after being promised that they would be paid by the OPM, but that promise was allegedly never honoured.
The community was promised 18 oxen and other equipment needed for ploughing by Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku during his visit in June last year, and the oxen were supposed to have been delivered by September that same year.
Efforts by this news agency to obtain comment from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is responsible for the San development programme, were futile.
An official in the OPM said on condition of anonymity in November last year that although the OPM promised to provide the San community with oxen, it currently does not have money to purchase such livestock.
“We want to start clearing our fields but we don’t have livestock,” Brinadete Cance, one of the Likwaterera resettlement committee members, said during an interview last November.
Most San people never owned livestock due to their nomadic lifestyle.
The Rundu Rural East Councillor said the community has also been requesting his office to install a tap in their area as the nearest borehole is about 1,5km away from where they live.
The San relocated their households to Likwaterera after a promise that Government would assist them with farming implements so that they can move away from working for others as a means of survival.
The community had their only harvest of mahangu, maize and beans in 2011 - one year after being relocated to the area.
In 2012, they also did not produce any food, also citing a lack of implements.