KEETMANSHOOP - The Landless Peoples’ Movement (LPM) in a recent press statement compared the government’s decision to give marketing incentives to farmers who intend to destock by selling their livestock due to the prevailing drought “to resuscitating an already dead person”.
Alosius Apollus, information and publicity officer for the LPM stated, “this hopeless belated action is just an act of lip-service and political gimmick clearly meant to deceive the farmers and public into believing that the government is serious about alleviating their plight.”
He said the amounts offered as incentives namely N$80 and N$400 per small and large livestock unit sold is far too low and should be adjusted to at least 50 percent of the value of the livestock.
This incentive scheme, according to the movement’s member is just an ad hoc remedial measure and “thus not informed by the perennial aridity of the greatest parts of Namibia”.
He added that it is LPM’s belief that crop production is equally in need of relieve as is the case with livestock. In the light thereof, “planning and re-organisation of the agrarian systems in this land must be geared towards mitigating the effects of the drought situation,” said Apollus.
He furthermore proposed that proper planning should be done in order to prevent unnecessary delays in processing payments to the farmers. The movement’s member continued by questioning the “skewed” manner in which government prioritise its activities, budgeting N$445 million for drought relief whilst spending more public funds on VIP protection.
According to him, government says N$31.3 million will be needed for livestock marketing incentives, leasing of grazing land and transport, which the LPM regarded as the core component of all drought relief interventions.
Government availed N$573 million for drought relief in order to assist farmers and families affected by the severe drought. These public funds will amongst others be utilised for food assistance, the acquisition of water tanks, livestock marketing incentives, transport subsidy to and from grazing areas, transport of fodder to drought affected farmers, support for lease of grazing, subsidy for crop farmers and lick supplements for cattle.
Government further calls on all Namibians and development partners to provide any support possible in order to combat the effects of the devastating drought as a collective effort.
Caption (Drought): Farmers are losing more livestock due to the devastating drought prevailing across the country.