04 Jul 2013 04:30
OTJIWARONGO, 04 JUL (NAMPA) - Sixteen German commercial farmers who own farms in the Otjozondjupa Region but reside in Germany have applied for drought-relief assistance from the Namibian Government.
Applications for Government-funded drought-relief assistance commenced here last week, and 22 applicants have submitted theirs already, said Frans Hango, the Otjozondjupa Chief Agricultural Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF).
?Out of the 22 applicants, six are upcoming commercial farmers from the black community, and 16 are German commercial farmers who live in Germany and own farms in the region,? he told Nampa on enquiry on Thursday.
Hango, who oversees the overall application process of the Government drought-relief cash incentives in the Otjozondjupa Region, said more applications are expected.
In May this year, President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared a state of emergency over the ongoing drought situation, and also called for assistance from the international community.
Government then allocated N.dollars 200 million towards drought relief countrywide, including the drilling of 40 boreholes.
According to Hango, Government will through the MAWF spend N.dollars 50 million of the N.dollars 200 million on its drought relief cash programmes.
He said livestock farmers will, from 01 March 2013 until the country recovers from the drought situation, receive an amount of N.dollars 300 as a marketing incentive for large livestock, and N.dollars 70 for small livestock, respectively.
Farmers will also receive a transport incentive for their livestock from drought-stricken areas to better grazing places within 500 kilometres.
?All that we need from our farmers selling their livestock is the proof of sale,? said Hango, adding that the proof could be a sales? invoice.
Duplicates of the livestock movement permits obtained from the MAWF?s Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) are also to be attached to the application forms.
Hango explained that 16 local farm managers applied for Government assistance on behalf of their Germany-based employers.
He said most of these farm managers claim to have sold over 100 heads of livestock since March this year at auction pens.
?I don?t have any problem with them applying for Government?s drought relief cash incentives, since the memorandum we received from Central Government does not restrict who should apply or the number of livestock - cattle, goats and sheep to be sold,? said Hango.
He said it is a fact that most of the commercial farms in the region are owned by white commercial farmers who do business with livestock, hence the large number of commercial farmers applying for drought-relief cash incentives.
Hango also blamed some black commercial farmers for keeping hundreds of cattle and other livestock for prestige, ?yet they remain poor, even failing to buy decent shoes for themselves?.
He thus urged them to start selling their livestock before the drought situation worsens.