Grazing Conditions Worsen in Dry Season [opinion]

Grazing conditions in various parts of the regions is said to have worsen during the course of the dry season and was reported to range between fair to poor.

Nevertheless, the situation was much better than the drought condition last year. According to farmers, this season was better than last season which saw many farmers losing many of their livestock. In general, there were few cases of livestock deaths related to poor grazing condition. Last year, many farmers lost lots of their livestock due to poor grazing condition. Although, the regions noted a delay in the onset of the 20142015 rainfall in which productive rainfall was received as from mid November instead of October, it was then reported that most parts of the country have since received good showers. As such grazing was expected to recover as more good rainfall was reportedly falling in various areas countrywide.

In the Zambezi region, grazing conditions were reported to be fair to poor in the eastern part of the region (i.e. Kabbe North and Kabbe South, Katima Rural constituencies as well as areas along the river in the Linyanti and Lyaboloma constituencies), due to higher concentration of animals and range between fair to good elsewhere in the region. For the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, grazing was reported to be fair in areas along the river and good in most places in the inland. However, the region noted with a great concern the incidence of veld fires in the inland and this has resulted in very poor grazing conditions in the affected areas. The north central regions reported poor grazing conditions with all the four north central regions equally affected. According to farmers, grazing was affected by a prolonged dry spells in January and most February.

However, the situation was said to be better compared to the same period last year. Nevertheless, better to good grazing conditions were reported in the cattle post areas of Omusati and Oshana regions. Many farmers were reported to have moved some of their livestock to some of these areas for better grazing conditions.Water availability for livestock was noted to be satisfactory in all the regions visited. Most livestock were said to get water from various sources such as wells, boreholes, dams, river and pipelines.

Livestock Condition

Most regions reported that livestock body condition ranging between poor to good. According to farmers, livestock body conditions are much better than last year. In the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions, conditions of the livestock were said to be fair in the Eastern part of Zambezi region and areas along the river in Kavango East and Kavango West regions, while elsewhere in these regions, livestock conditions were said to range between fair to good. Livestock conditions in the four northern regions were reported to range between poor (in areas around the township) and fair to good in the cattle post areas.

Suspected outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, in Linyanti Constituency of Zambezi Region has been reported after an investigation conducted on December 1, 2014. The Directorate of Veterinary Services (S) in the region reported that further investigations were still underway. Meanwhile, the following measures had been imposed with immediate effect. A temporal and complete ban of all susceptible livestock movements within and into Zambezi region has been imposed with immediate effect. S further directed that movement of cloven-hoofed animals, like cattle, sheep, goats and pigs or their products, other potentially infectious commodities including hides, skins, game trophies, grass, plant material, etc., would remain restricted until further notice.

Moreover, movement of livestock out of Zambezi Region was not allowed. A containment area has been established with a radius of 40 km around Linyanti. In the mean-time a moratorium on the movements of meat from Katima Mulilo abattoir has been imposed until further notice. Furthermore, drought related conditions were also reported and this included Dystocia, Retained placenta and virginal prolapsed.

Source : New Era