OKONDJOMBO - A distraught farmer from the Okondjombo area in the Kunene region says he has lost about 400 cattle and 1 000 goats in the last two years.
Hiperure Koruhama, a pensioner, said much of his livestock perished last year following the devastating drought in 2019. The farmer was only left with six goats, as all his cattle were wiped out by the crippling drought. He is now hoping to relocate the surviving goats elsewhere for better grazing.
Like many other livestock farmers in the region, Koruhama’s livelihood has been severely affected by the shattering dry spell, as he generated his income from selling animals.
“I bought a car from selling livestock, but I have nothing left. The livestock is gone, and so is my car. I was once a rich man,” said Koruhama.
New Era caught up with him along the road to Okondjombo, where he and his daughter, who used to herd his goats, have been camping for at least six days.
The two are on the way to an unknown destination and plan to settle anywhere they find better grazing for their six goats.
But the journey is not easy, as the pensioner was recently treated for a leg injury, which impedes his movement.
“I fell from that mountain and hurt my legs – and that is why I am bandaged,” Koruhama said as he pointed to the mountain he fell from.
The two now sleep in the open space and hang their blankets on shrubs during the day while they seek shelter at the nearby trees.
Still in Okondjombo, the farmers who were left behind by those who flocked to Opuwo said they do not have any livestock at all.
“These goats that you see here were left behind by those that went to Opuwo. Ours are dead and we have nothing to eat,” said Kondjerera Tjambiru.
Tjambiru said since they do not have meat for relish, they eat dry porridge and sometimes go to bed on an empty stomach, as the maize meal is very expensive.
She said shop owners are taking advantage of the drought situation and exaggerating prices. Tjambiru said a 50kg bag costs at least N$1 000, and it takes at least four hours to get to the mountainous Okondjombo from Opuwo.
Tjambiru said they use children’s social grants and old-age pension to buy the maize to feed everyone in the area. One of the farmers who have taken their livestock to Opuwo, Jakanua Koruhama, said he since returned home, as the situation is not different from what they fled from.
“It was just a waste of time. I left here with 120 goats; some died on the way; others died in Opuwo – and now we only have 45 goats left,” said Koruhama.
Koruhama said the goats died within a span of three weeks. - firstname.lastname@example.org