Ongwediva Communal farmers in the northern regions are struggling to secure food for their livestock as the drought persists, with hardly any rain having fallen so far. At the same time the price of animal feed remains exorbitantly high, due to its scarcity because of the drought. As a result, livestock end up withering away and eventually dying. Currently, many communal livestock farmers wake up to find their animals dead. Livestock are currently foraging on dry leaves but even the dry leaves are becoming scarce. “I have given up, the fodder is not affordable and even if it is, the number of animals makes the feed unaffordable,” said Willem Nghidiwakusha, a farmer from Sheya in Ohangwena Region. “The drought is too long; with what will you buy the animal feed if people are no longer buying cattle?” questioned Nghidiwakusha. The chairperson of the Mangetti Association, Ismael Gideon Shailemo, said their livestock walk up to 12km to drink water at nearby farms. The Mangetti farmers are also faced with the predicament of securing food for their livestock. Jacob Hamutenya, the regional manager of the Agriculture Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA), said the demands for an animal hub are loud. According to Hamutenya, a truckload of 60 bundles of feed does not last an hour at the Ongwediva hub. A bundle of animal feed costs about N$400. Hamutenya said the Ongwediva hub initially received about three truckloads of feed weekly, but that too did not meet demand. Because of the transport shortage the hub now only receives about one truckload. The feed is procured from government green-scheme projects in the Kavango regions, as well as from the Etunda green scheme. The supervisor at Agri Trading in Oshakati, Cosmos David, said they were “forced” to sell the feed at a reasonable market price to accommodate the financially struggling farmers. David, who has been working with farmers for about 13 years, said this year’s drought is worrisome. Government has been proactive in addressing the plight of victims of the drought. On Tuesday it announced that N$530 million has been allocated to the drought relief programme. Tens of thousand of people are already receiving maize, flour, tinned fish and cooking oil under the countrywide drought relief programme.
2015-11-05 10:01:18 2 years ago