WINDHOEK- Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala has said the region has a potential to become the country’s food basket as it has close to 800 000 livestock.
Endjala addressing the region on Friday said the region has over 307 212 herds of cattle, 18 515 sheep, 211 411 goats, 1 122 horses, 32 801 donkeys, 16 695 pigs and 138 323 poultry.
Unfortunately, he said due to this year’s drought situation, the livestock numbers may reduce drastically, as grazing areas are depleted while water catchments have dried up.
Likewise, Endjala said the farmers potential for livestock economy is limited by the market that has shrunk due to the low and unattractive price offered as a result of lost body condition from prevailing drought.
He said the nation has to applaud the efforts of the government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry mitigating the effect of the drought experienced countrywide.
“The process is characterized by this much impediments such as the identification of red tapes that may further worsen the situation,” he said.
According to him, as we speak, the drought relief for some people is under way and there is also an ongoing assessment of the food security situation to identify those who need assistance after which a comprehensive drought relief distribution programme will commence.
“There are other interventions in place that address poverty such as through the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare which assist with social grants to pensioners and the people with disabilities,” he added.
He said based on the Population Census of 2011, Omusati’ s population was 243 166 out of which 98 percent are Namibians, 11 percent are pensioners (60+) meaning a total number of 26,213 pensioners receive monthly grants representing 99 percent coverage of old age on the system.
Also, he said the Disability Grant to qualified disabled people stand at 6756 but only 4903 are recipients of disability grants representing only 73 percent while 27 percent are in the process.
To date, he said a total payout of N$38, 857,500.00 was invested in social safety net of the region.
“In fact, poverty cannot be reduced by the drought relief or social grants, but a correct formula should be devised, including participating in food production since imports of food will never provide sustenance to any nation,” he said.
He said food security cannot be achieved if the country continue to import food from elsewhere.
Therefore, he said he is happy to report to the region that through efforts of self-reliance in food production in the region, the region have earned a good reputation when it comes to fresh produce in the country.
He said according to a Report of Agronomic Board by Namibia and commented by AMTA, Olushandja Horticulture Association and Etunda has produced approximately 462 tons of fresh produce of which 60 percent went to a formal market through AMTA, while the rest went to the informal market.
The report has also revealed that in the Northern Central Agricultural Regions, 95 percent of fresh produce is from region.
“We did not just end up here, but so far, we represent the large number of small-scale fresh producers in Namibia, with a total of 89 producers under Olushandja Horticulture Association and 74 small scale farmers who are operating at Etunda Irrigation Scheme,” he said.
Out of the 462 tons, Etunda contributes only seven percent while the remaining 93 percent came from Olushandja Horticulture Association.
The governor said the contribution of these individual producers both large- and small-scale farmers in the region has contributed immensely to the reduction of poverty index and unemployment, in the region.
He said this resulted in unemployment rate declining from 48 percent in 2015 to 24 percent in 2018.
This is a 50 percent reduction in unemployment, compared to other regions that remain above 40 percent according to statistics provided by the Namibia Statistics Agency.
2019-07-17 09:51:02 | 4 months ago