Over 60 000 livestock died of starvation

04 October 2019 | Disasters

More than 60 000 livestock have succumbed to famine this year, agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb has said.

!Naruseb announced the figure during a consultative meeting Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had with regional governors and chief regional officers in Windhoek on Wednesday this week.

Without mentioning the exact numbers of livestock that have perished per region, the minister said the Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Erongo and //Karas regions recorded the highest number of livestock lost due to the current drought.

Addressing the meeting, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said so far N$131 million has been spent on drought relief expenses, with N$16.6 million spent on fodder for livestock.

She said of the N$595.2 million earmarked for the drought relief programme, N$112 million in total will be spent on fodder.

“The challenges related to reliance on conventional grazing of animals during this drought period has alerted us to the need to adopt more innovative and drought resilient methods,” she said.

The prime minister further noted that government acknowledges the introduction of the hydroponics system, which produces fodder in seven days and could feed many cattle. It has therefore approved a subsidy scheme to support small-scale farmers who want to venture into non-mechanised fodder production.

Government also plans to train farmers in hydroponic fodder production. “I urge our farmers to approach ministry of agriculture offices to participate in the scheme,” she said.

The state of emergency declared for the drought was set to lapse on 5 October 2019, but Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Wednesday said she would table a motivation in the National Assembly to have it extended by six months.

Households are currently also receiving food aid, set to continue until roughly April next year.