OKAKU - Like many other subsistence farmers in northern Namibia, a family in the Okaku constituency is struggling to put food on the table and has had to rely on cattle hides for relish. Selma Kronelius Amadhila, a resident of Egundjilo village, said meat has become too expensive. “Cattle hides have been eaten by many generations and in times like this, we need to go back to the old habits in order to survive,” said Amadhila.
The surplus from last year’s harvest was also not enough to sustain them. Last year, the family only managed to harvest enough grain to fill a container of 200 litres. The family now entirely depends on the two grandparents’ old-age pension grant for at least two rationed meals in one day. The Amadhila situation is common in many other parts of the country due to the prevailing drought. Many families are now dependent on government’s drought relief. Until recently when Amadhila received 12,5 kg rice, cooking oil and four tinned fish, her family did not qualify for drought relief because of the stringent requirements. According to government, households without any income are prioritised, while those with two or more people receiving an old-age pension grant do not qualify. Amadhila’s family was later considered and received drought relief from government.President Hage Geingob earlier this year declared the persistent drought a state of emergency. To mitigate the drought, the government budgeted N$570 million to aid distressed needing farmers and communities overcome the drought.