WINDHOEK - With the prolonged drought in Aminius Constituency in Omaheke Region, Cabinet has endorsed the recommendations by the Office of the Prime Minister to support the affected communities.
The drought has largely been attributed to a lack of rainfall last year and this year, unlike other parts of the country which are enjoying their wheat and mahangu surpluses as they received good showers.
Cabinet endorsed the provision of 7 000 bags of wheat donated by the government of Japan and maize meal to address food shortages to the food insecure population from 1 October 2018 to 31 January 2019.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology Engel Nawatiseb announced this yesterday when he briefed the media on the Cabinet resolutions taken on Wednesday.
Nawatiseb said identification and registration of food insecure households, using the given criteria, and mobilisation of distribution tools will be considered in preparation for the actual distribution through the Omaheke Regional Council.
He stated Cabinet took note the period of drought relief assistance to the affected households will be extended until end of January 2019.
Earlier, Aminuis Constituency Councillor, Peter Kazongominja has sounded the alarm on a looming drought in his constituency.
Speaking shortly after the annual State of the Region Address by Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele on Wednesday, Kazongominja said food security in Aminuis is under threat as drought conditions have set in.
The councillor called for urgent intervention by the regional leadership and relevant government structures to address the situation, which he said had reached critical levels.
“We are on the verge of a severe drought outbreak as early drought conditions are already being experienced by farmers. Grazing is virtually non-existent and livestock is losing body mass, which could lead to them dying soon,” he said.
Kazongominja implored the regional leadership to urgently convene discussions on the matter, as any further delays could be detrimental to farming activities in the constituency.
“Honourable Governor, your intervention by leading efforts in this matter will be of utmost importance, as we all look up to your office to provide direction in such matters,” he said.
He called on government to negotiate the leasing of land on nearby commercial farms for those hard-hit by drought in his constituency as a contingency measure to mitigate the impact of the natural disaster.
Kazongominja said since the region has a large number of marginalised people, while many others depend on farming for their survival, a full outbreak of drought would be catastrophic to the constituency.
“We have people who are already struggling to feed themselves and are forced to rely on the goodwill of others for survival; how will they go through a drought such as the one we are bound to experience?” the councillor asked.
Cabinet also directed the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to explore the possibility of collaboration with China in capacity building for the prevention and treatment of desertification, land degradation and drought management.
The ministry is also encouraged to assess how Namibia could benefit from Fengyun meteorological satellite data for drought and disaster prevention and mitigation.
Equally, Cabinet resolved that Namibia consider hosting the Centre for Environment Protection and Tackling Climate Change, which is in line with the country’s interest to host the United Nation (UN) Regional Climate Hub.
Cabinet further took note that the Office of the Prime Minister will monitor the situation and inform Cabinet accordingly.
Cabinet directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to explore how Namibia could benefit from China’s offer to assist African countries in terms of capacity building, technology transfer through exchange of agricultural scientists and development of new research techniques in crops.
This includes molecular detection and identification of plant diseases, pest risk analysis, seed health testing or certification and management of quarantine containment facilities for high risk materials with biosecurity levels.
It also entails that Namibia explore avenues of collaboration with regard to livestock, in terms of technical cooperation in waste treatment system.
Cabinet directed that Namibia consider hosting the China-Africa Research Centre for Development of Green Agriculture. -Additional reporting Nampa