OMUTHIYA – Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila yesterday revealed that the government has so far raised N$99 million from individuals who voluntarily donated two percent of their salaries, and from donations from businesses and international partners towards the government’s drought mitigation efforts.
President Hage Geingob, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba and Urban and Rural Development Minister Peya Mushelenga were the first to contribute, the PM said during a town hall meeting in Omuthiya yesterday.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said other individuals have also donated money in their private capacity.
The drought levy initiative was initiated after the President declared a state of emergency on May 6 due to the devastating drought that has resulted in the loss of thousands of livestock with some farmers resorting to harvesting grass in Windhoek.
The money to be collected from this campaign would supplement the over N$570 million set aside to assist drought-affected farmers and vulnerable citizens.
The PM was briefing Oshikoto Region on the contingencies that her office has put in place in terms of mitigating the effects of the drought in the country. Before meeting the community of Oshikoto, Geingob, accompanied by a high-level delegation consisting of cabinet ministers, visited the Okashana grazing area to assess the drought situation there.
The area, measuring 20 square kilometres, harbours over 100 small-scale farmers from Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto. There are approximately 10 000 livestock, plus wildlife such as wildebeest, springbok and zebra.
Communal farmers appealed to government through the President to provide at least four boreholes. The area is not suitable for drilling boreholes as the ground water is saline.
They thus depend on tap water, which they claim is costly as they are subject to paying high water bills.
In addition, farmers appealed for assistance with supplements and animal feed, saying grazing has been depleted due to overstocking. Herders now trek between 12 to 15 kilometres for better grazing.
Meanwhile, Geingob advised the farmers to sell their animals at the right time in order to have manageable herds. Government’s drought programme currently provides food to identified beneficiaries who receive 20 kilogrammes of maize meal, 750 millilitres of cooking oil and canned fish.
To qualify as beneficiary, a household must not earn an income of more than N$2 600 per month. Farmers who have 26 large stock units of cattle and 130 small stock units, which include goats and sheep, qualify to benefit from the fodder given for livestock support.
Government provides free fodder and licks to farmers. There over 18 000 drought-affected households in Oshikoto which translates to over 211 000 individuals severely hit.