KHORIXAS – The Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) on Wednesday donated 425 goats, fodder and energy-efficient stoves worth N$3.1 million to the drought-hit communities in the Kunene region.
The donation is part of the EIF’s Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management (Irema), a climate adaptation project meant to empower smallholder farmers under conditions of climate change.
The scheme is aimed at providing quality core breeding flock of suitable goats to selected vulnerable households for economic emancipation, food security and enhancing their social and economic well-being.
Speaking at the official handover at Khorixas, Sophia Kasheeta, the deputy executive director in the ministry of agriculture, said the scheme came at the right time, considering that Namibia is one of the countries extensively affected by climate change.
Kasheeta noted that vulnerable households that own a few goats to none are severely affected by the effects of drought.
“Therefore, this project will strive to create resilience of these farming households to the effects of climate change through the provision of goats for breeding purposes,” said Kasheeta, who was speaking on behalf of the agriculture minister, Calle Schlettwein.
The official has emphasised that goats were given under a revolving agreement, whereby beneficiaries are expected to give back 20 female goats in five years of breeding.
The revolving scheme project targets to distribute 2 500 drought-resilient small stock breeds to more than 120 qualifying beneficiaries for free at the cost of over N$14 million.
About 20 beneficiaries from the designated groups, mostly women-headed households; people living with disabilities, and people who are most vulnerable and have lost their livestock due to drought have received 20 female goats and one male, according to EIF CEO Benedict Libanda.
“The project aims to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers under climate change conditions by safeguarding natural capital that generates ecosystem services to sustain agricultural production system,” Libanda said.
On his part, Marius Sheya, the governor of Kunene region advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the goats, while warning them not to slaughter them for barbeques.
Lantine Guims, one of the beneficiaries, narrated how the persistent drought wiped out her flock of about 50 goats, remaining only with five. She has expressed her gratitude and called on other beneficiaries to take care of the animals.
“Let’s take care of our goats by vaccinating them on time,” Guims cautioned.