N$160 million for drought relief

Although most of the country has received above-average rainfall this year, desperate farmers in the Kunene Region are camping on the outskirts of Opuwo, reliant on food aid.

24 March 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The government will introduce drought interventions for drought-stricken regions to cover a period of six months estimated to cost N$160.3 million.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said this last week when she briefed parliament on the impact of the rainfall and drought in the country.

She said Namibia has received normal to above-normal rainfall in most parts of the country for the past three months and the Office of the Prime Minister conducted a rainfall impact assessment in all the regions.

The north-eastern part of the Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West regions received very good rainfall.

“The Zambezi Region is, however, prone to flooding, especially the eastern part, and the communities are urged to remain on alert and move to high ground to avoid being trapped in flooding.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said there had been reports of subdued crops on account of heavy rain in Judea Lyamboloma Constituency, and affected farmers were identified and provided with seed for replanting.

In the Kavango West Region, the villages of Sikondo, Nakazaza, Ruurumwe and Mafugu in Kapako Constituency were flooded.

According to her about 174 households with some 2 551 people were affected by the flood.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the government established two temporary relocation sites, and the affected families were provided with tents, mattresses, mosquito nets and blankets. They were also been provided with food relief and water tanks to cover a period of two months.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said another development was the occurrence of army worms and locust swarms, which started in the Zambezi Region late last year and have now spread to parts of Kavango East, Kavango West and //Karas.

The agriculture ministry has deployed spray teams to control the pest, and so far about N$20 million has been spent from the National Emergency Disaster Fund towards that.

Drought

She further said that the rainfall impact assessment team reported that little rainfall was received in Kunene Region and the western parts of Omusati and Erongo.

Farmers in these areas have lost significant numbers of livestock and some have started migrating in search of grazing.

“The grazing challenge on account of no rain remains the biggest concern,” the prime minister said.

She added that the prospects of a good harvest for dryland crop producers is poor. This is due to a long dry spell that resulted in poor germination or retarded plant growth.

Water availability for livestock continues to be a problem in some parts of the Kunene and Erongo regions.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said several relief measures were implemented in these regions.

These included the initial intervention of two months’ food assistance, consisting of 600 bags of maize meal and 7 200 tins of fish, for displaced farmers camping on the outskirts of Opuwo.

An additional 60 868 tins of fish and 3 000 bags of maize meal were delivered elsewhere in the region. The Kunene Regional Council identified 15 217 affected households.

With respect to livestock support, 41 989 bales of animal fodder were procured from Ndonga Linena and Etunda Green Schemes. A total of 3 300 bales have been delivered to Kunene Region for distribution to affected farmers. This process is ongoing.

The government will further ensure food assistance to drought-affected communities, provide animal fodder to drought-stricken farmers and subsidise transportation of livestock to grazing areas.

The government will also introduce a subsidy to enable affected farmers to establish non-mechanised hydroponic horticulture.

“The estimated cost of the above-mentioned interventions will be around N$160.3 million over period of 6 months,” the prime minister said.

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