Drought: N$20m spent on fodder subsidies

27 February 2020 | Disasters

While some parts of the country have received good rainfall, other areas have not received any, resulting in ongoing drought devastation.

By the end of January, the Office of the Prime Minister had spent over N$20 million on farmer subsidies to retailers where fodder for livestock is purchased.

Government offered a 50% subsidy per bag of feed at agriculture retailers across Namibia for commercial, communal and emerging farmers, which was capped at 100 bags per person.

Speaking recently during the launch of a food aid programme for antiretroviral patients sponsored by the United States government, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Namibia has been experiencing drought periods for the past few years, with last year's drought having been one of the most devastating.

She said as a result of the negative impacts the drought has on human and animal livelihood, government declared a state of emergency on 6 May 2019, initially for six months, but which has now been extended to 6 March 2020.

“The impact of the drought includes food shortages, poor grazing, scarcity of water and lost opportunities for jobs and income due to the negative impact on crop harvests and loss of livestock. A total of over N$20 million was paid to farmers as subsidies as at the end of January,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

“In response to this situation, the government implemented a drought relief programme which included the provision of monthly food rations to over 172 000 households, water to communities through water tanker services, the rehabilitation and drilling of boreholes and the extension of water pipes to new water points at a cost of over N$249.7 million, as well as the provision of free fodder and subsidies to livestock farmers.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the recent rainfall is a welcome development, but it hasn't brought relief to all regions. While Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi received above-average rainfall resulting in improved grazing conditions, which has allowed the discontinuation of the distribution of free fodder, other regions have requested an increase in fodder supply.

“Unfortunately, in some of the parts where rains were received, it has resulted in flooding which has caused loss of lives, threatened the prospects for good harvests and posed a risk of displacement of communities. We therefore need to continue to invest in resilience capacities for our communities to enable them to cope with disasters. I wish to reiterate the importance of the speedy implementation of disaster risk assessment,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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