Fears of Late Rains Grip Livestock, Crop Farmers

While most parts of the country reported improved grazing conditions, except the north central and north western part of Namibia after some rain earlier this year, a bleak picture is starting to unfold in the absence of rain in the current season that started in October and has up to now showed very little to impress farmers.

Both crop and livestock farmers Farmers’ Forum spoke to in the north-central regions have expressed different views of what to expect from the current rain season. g winds have shifted a lot of top soil in deforested areas where the land is bare and over grazed making it vulnerable to wind erosion. Fair to poor grazing conditions were reported following poor rainfall performance in the above mentioned areas according to the Early Food and Warning System Report earlier this year. The situation is deteriorating fast in the north- central regions (Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena), where fair to poor grazing conditions were reported, except the cattle post areas where good to moderate grazing conditions were reported.

Even in areas where good grazing conditions were reported, such as Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Omaheke, Hardap and Erongo regions following good rainfall performance in these areas, the situation is stirring up fears of very late rains in the 201415 season. The inadequate grazing conditions came as a result of general poor rainfall performance, which according to farmers was seen in the forms of erratic, sporadic and insufficient rainfall in the first half of the season, and a serious prolonged dry spells in January, and most of February this year. Poor to good grazing conditions were also reported in the !Karas Region, and in the absence of rain, it is also deteriorating fast.

Grazing conditions in the north and south of the Kunene Region, range from extremely poor to poor. In Kunene central the annual grasses have grown but perennial grasses did not improve. Although there were some annual grasses visible, they did not reach to the current rainy season. In the east of Kunene the grazing conditions are reported to be fair, especially from Outjo up to Otjikondo area. In Erongo Region, grazing conditions were reported to be fair in Uis, Omatjette, Otjimbingwe, Omaruru and Karibib areas, while poor at Okombahe and Spitzkoppe areas because of low rainfall received.

Livestock conditions

Livestock conditions in most regions were said to have improved from poor to good, except in Kunene Region and the north and extreme part of the Omusati Region where the situation was reported to range between poor and fair. With regards to livestock health, sporadic cases of rabies were reported in Otavi, Omusati, Oshana, Outjo, Otjiwarongo, Omaruru, Windhoek, Gobabis and Keetmanshop veterinary districts affecting mainly cattle, and to some extent dogs. Moreover, cases of ticks infestations and lumpy skin disease among cattle were still being reported in the Zambezi Region but the magnitude of infestation was said to be much lower than previous seasons.

Source : New Era