Farmers from drought-stricken regions are calling on the government to fast-track the drought relief scheme so that they can get fodder to feed their animals.

The farmers made this call in an interview with nbc News at the just-ended Namibia National Farmers' Union Special Congress at Otjiwarongo.
According to the farmers, the drought is severe, and they are struggling to survive it.

They approached the government office for drought relief assistance, and a delegation from the Office of the Prime Minister was sent to Omaheke Region, where the farmers raised their concerns and were given strategies.

"Amongst the strategies is that you must sell some of your cattle, then you get tax for N$500 per herd of cattle you sell, or you have to take the cattle to where you will be assisted with transport, grazing fees, and so on, says Omaheke Regional Farmers Union chairperson Lesley Kaundara.

Others are subsistence farmers and do not have enough cattle to be subsidised by the government.

For communal farmers to take their cattle to commercial areas, Kauandara says it will mean the commercial farmers will benefit twice.

Those willing to assist are reluctant to do so, says Kauandara, as they do not know for how long the drought season will persist.

"So this is the problem that we have, and we have raised it with the Office of the Prime Minister, where all the regional councillors were in attendance and have promised that they are going to take this matter to their superior and bring back feedback to us, but as I am talking to you, nothing has been done."

The Omaheke Regional Farmers Union's chairperson is therefore calling on the government to provide them with licks and fodder.

Aminuis Constituency Councillor Peter Kazongomuinja says data has yet to be collected to determine the beneficiaries of the packages.

"After this declaration from the cabinet, we are two months within the period that they have said we should have started already on the first of July in receiving our drought relief food, but we are now towards the end of August when this ka data will be ready and when people will start receiving this food and the animals will start benefiting whatever they benefit."

Farmers have already started to lose livestock, while those who were able to move to other places have done so.



Eveline Paulus