OMUTHIYA - Many communal farmers in the northern regions are flocking to Oshivelo settlement to buy dry grass in an effort to save their livestock.
Although agricultural production has decreased this year, as a result of little rainfall received, Oshikoto Region is fortunate to have a settlement that still has food for the livestock.
At Oshivelo, a settlement in the Guinas Constituency situated 90 kilometres north of Tsumeb, grass is sold to farmers desperately looking to save their livestock. “It is true that there is drought, but in Oshikoto Region, especially at Oshivelo, there is still grass and that is why farmers are flocking there. Unlike other parts, Oshivelo settlement is not affected by severe drought, hence the animals are still surviving,” said Nation Nashikaku, the headman of Oshivelo. Farmers are travelling from as far as Outapi and Ruacana in Omusati Region to Oshivelo to buy the grass.
Community members from the Oshivelo settlement are cutting the grass alongside the road and selling it for a mere N$10 a bunch.
Guinas Constituency councillor, Betty Kaula, acknowledged that the drought situation in the constituency is better compared to other parts of the region. “We have grass, starting from Tsintsabis up until Ondera farm on the outskirts of Oshivelo,” she said. Selma Nakaziko, a farmer at Ekulo village, described the drought situation as devastating compared to previous years. “The drought situation is severe and we are losing hope, especially in our livestock because they are the most affected creatures. For us human beings, we can survive on drought relief food as well as buying maize bags with the little we get,” said Nakaziko.
She recalls that the Etosha National Park border used to be a grazing area. However, farmers have now bought themselves land to make cattle posts and have fenced off the area, which was meant for communal animal grazing, making it difficult for fellow farmers in situations like this.
“This is the biggest challenge we are facing that needs urgent attention and the involvement of the Ministry of Land Reform, veterinary services and Namwater,” she added. Farmers from villages such as Omuthiya, Oshifukwa, Okapuku, Okawambi and Onalunike are grazing their animals as far as the Etosha National Park’s fence but they are losing their livestock to hyenas.
Kaula is, however, concerned that people are cutting the grass down to the roots. She warned community members that have been cutting grass for sale that it does not mean that if the grass is alongside the road it belongs to everyone. Josephina Mwashindange is Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology’s Oshikoto regional office.
2019-05-21 10:03:07 2 months ago