Deputy PM assures San community that they will farm this year

Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku has assured members of the San community at Likwaterera in the Kavango East Region that they will receive 10 oxen this year so they can start farming.

The San community living in the resettlement area recently said they doubted whether they would start farming later this year as they have not yet received oxen for ploughing as promised to them by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister last year.

The San Development Programme falls under that office.

The more than 120 members of the community, most of whom are originally from the villages of Mazana and Kambowo in the Rundu Rural East Constituency, were relocated to Likwaterera – some 75 kilometres away – in 2010 by the Kavango Regional Council.

This was aimed at getting them to actively participate in farming activities in order to become self-sustainable.

Members of the small community currently own eight ploughs and hoes, which they are supposed to share during ploughing.

The ploughs were donated to them by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in early 2011.

Hausiku, who visited Likwaterera on Friday, assured the community that his office will purchase the 10 oxen.

He said the livestock could not be purchased last year because there was no budgetary provision for it.

The Deputy Premier noted that he had requested Kavango East Governor, Dr Samuel Mbambo to assist in procuring the oxen.

“This year we will buy 10 oxen because the money is there and our Governor will assist us to look for the oxen within the region so we can buy them,” he stated.

Likwaterera headwoman Agnes Kapango told Hausiku the San community were reluctant to clear their fields as they were afraid that they would not receive the oxen.

Kapango said the community is however willing to start farming as they do not want to be dependent on Government’s food aid relief only.

She said should the San community start producing food for themselves, they will be self-sustainable and will not abandon the resettlement area in search of food elsewhere.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the headwoman to encourage the San community to start clearing their fields so that come the rainy season, they can start ploughing.

The San also have three 50-kilogramme (kg) bags of maize seeds given to them by the Kavango Regional Council, which they are only planning on using once they get the oxen.

Some members of the community have now opted to work for other people in their mahangu fields because they are unable to work in their own mahangu fields.

Last year, these marginalised members of the community did not actively participate in subsistence farming because of a lack of equipment to do so.

Many San people have never owned livestock due to their nomadic lifestyle.

The San relocated their households to Likwaterera after a promise that Government would assist them with farming implements so they can move away from working for others as a means of survival.

The community had their only harvest of mahangu, maize and beans in 2011 – one year after being relocated to the area.

In 2012, they also did not produce any food, also citing a lack of farming implements.