88 000 livestock die in a year

07 January 2020 | Agriculture

Over 88 000 livestock deaths have been recorded from October 2018 to September 2019 as a result of the devastating drought in Namibia.

Over 56% of the deaths reported were cattle, 31% goats, 12.3% sheep and donkeys, while horses recorded less than 1% of the livestock deaths.

According to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Report that was recently released by the agriculture ministry, from October 2018 to September last year, a total of 49 235 cattle, 27 101 goats, 10 845 sheep, 715 donkeys and 323 horses died. The report indicates that the regions that recorded the highest number of livestock deaths were !Kharas (17 955), Erongo (16 901) and Khomas (15 821).

The lowest number of livestock deaths were recorded in the Kavango East (zero), Hardap (20) and Zambezi Regions (76).

According to the report, livestock body conditions have been worsening as the drought strengthened, with livestock mortalities as a result of severe malnutrition being on the rise.

“The entire country is almost equally affected except in a few areas in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions where there is few grazing and in the commercial areas due to intensive supplementary feeding.”

However, the report says that with the recent good rainfall reported in various parts of the country as well as more good rainfall predicted, livestock conditions are expected to improve as the season progresses.

The report adds that grazing conditions have been deteriorating severely throughout the country following the severe drought conditions experienced last season.

In the Omaheke Region, the situation was noted to be bad with only a few spots of fair grazing in areas such as Eiseb block and Otjinene.

It is reported that in the Kunene, /Kharas, Hardap, Erongo, Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, grazing is critical, with high livestock mortalities. Some farmers reported to have lost all their livestock.

“The unevenly distributed rains, heat waves and prolonged dry spells experienced in the previous season resulted in poor grass production and livestock are surviving on the woody materials for fodder.”

Furthermore, the report says that many farmers have been seen moving their livestock from one area to another in search for better grazing. At the time of the report, rainfall received did not make any significant improvement on the grazing.

Meanwhile in the Zambezi region, grazing was noted to be generally poor in areas along the rivers and fair to good inland.

ELLANIE SMIT

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