KEETMANSHOOP - Communal farmers outside Keetmanshoop say they are ‘forced on their knees’ by the devastating drought prevailing in the country.
The farmers expressed their concerns to a presidential delegation that visited the region for purposes of accessing the drought situation and also solicit inputs and recommendation from those on ground level.
“Water levels in the area has dropped critically since surrounding rivers only flow when we got rain, making it almost impossible for us to survive on a daily basis,” said farmer Eric Matthys.
He further stated that the deplorable condition of his animals is very much portraying the condition of his grazing. Matthys went on to say he cannot afford fodder and, on top of that, his combined monthly household income exceeds the prescribed N$2 600.00 criteria, thus disqualifying him to receive fodder and lick supplement under the government’s drought assistance scheme.
“I lost most of my livestock due to the drought, but I am clinging onto the few remaining ones as I believe the situation might improve in future,” said an emotional Matthys.
Another farmer, Hendrik Titus informed the delegation that they are facing serious challenges due to the water shortage in the area. “We approached the department of rural water supply for assistance, but they can however only provide us with water for household consumption which then excludes our livestock, resulting in heavy losses,” he explained. Titus then recommended that the six boreholes in their area should be rehabilitated and installed with solar pumps to arrest their dire situation.
“The other problem we are facing is the fencing next to the tar road which needs to be repaired or put up since our animals are now roaming in the corridors, resulting to a decrease in their numbers due to overgrazing,” he informed the delegation. Titus in conclusion requested for the installation of electricity since only one side of the area separated by the river has been provided with electricity since 2010.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Alpheus !Naruseb explained to farmers in the area that the aim of their visit was to listen to farmer on grassroots level. “We (government) will then, after carrying out a needs assessment, formulate and try to find solutions for these challenges presented.”