Farmworkers at risk of layoffs

While much has been reported regarding livestock assistance and the impact of the overall drought on farmers, very little has been said about the high risk of job losses for the labourers.

17 May 2019 | Agriculture

Social Security Commission (SSC) CEO Milka Mungunda said the drought situation in the country is putting farmworkers at risk of losing their jobs, which would worsen the already high unemployment rate.

Mungunda made this statement at the SSC headquarters in Windhoek on Tuesday, where she handed over a cheque of N$400 000 to the Dare to Care initiative through the labour ministry.

Mungunda said the SSC wants to live up to its mandate of meeting the government halfway by looking after workers' welfare, thus found it fit to donate funds towards drought relief to help farmers save their livestock while at the same time saving the jobs of farmworkers. She said if farmers are not producing anything, then workers will be retrenched and worsen the already high unemployment rate in the country.

“The drought situation is affecting everyone whether you are a farmer or not, and it is affecting us at the Social Security Commission as well, because farmworkers are our members,” added Mungunda.

She called on everyone to contribute by donating anything they have towards the Dare to Care initiative and help farmers that are affected by the drought.

“Come through with the little you have, you don't have to be a millionaire to contribute as anything will be appreciated. This donation is not a lot and even though it will make a difference, it is almost like a drop in the ocean,” emphasised Mungunda.

Deputy labour minister Tommy Nambahu said he was at his village recently and spoke to elders aged in their 80s and 90s who say they have never experienced a drought like this before.

He said this year's drought is regarded as the worst in the history of the country as only a few areas have received average rainfall and some did not receive any at all.

“This means workers in the agriculture sector, which is the primary industry of the domestic economy with a large number of workers, are consequently at risk of losing their jobs,” said Nambahu.

Dare to Care is an initiative of the Agricultural Union of Namibia and the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union aimed at soliciting donations to assist farmers acquire livestock feed.

NAMPA

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