KATIMA MULILO – Likwama Farmers’ Union feels the criteria for people to benefit from the government drought subsidy, “for only those that have 26 cattle – 25 females and one bull – does not go down well in communal areas”.
The union expressed its sentiments at a media briefing on the current drought on Wednesday. Likwama is of the opinion the drought relief scheme is very harsh for Namibian producers.
The union also stated it had already submitted the list of farmers who need drought assistance, but only a few qualified under the current criteria.
“We have submitted the names of about 43 or 45 farmers ... But now if someone was working but retired two-three years ago they don’t qualify. Pensioners are not qualifying, the vulnerable ones who receive monthly grants of gender also don’t qualify, so who will qualify then?” questioned Likwama’s deputy chairperson Elina Kalundu.
Likwama chairperson Alfred Chilinda echoed similar views and said some farmers have not come forward to register because they are of the opinion that if they get fodder they will be disqualified from receiving maize meal.
“It’s not that farmers are refusing, it is because they have this threat that should they get fodder and lick they will not get the maize meal, this is the worry. We have gone all over and we are falling to get who is going to be suicidal to say I will give the animal the food and I will go starving,” he said.
He also pointed out that although donations towards the drought relief have been coming from left, right and centre, it is taking long to reach the grassroots level. He thus appealed to the government to fast-track the distribution of drought assistance.