Likwaterera Community Doubtful About Farming This Year

MEMBERS of the San community at the Likwaterera resettlement area in Kavango East are doubtful they will embark in crop farming later this year, as they say they do not have oxen for ploughing.

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 done with the aim of getting them to actively participate in farming activities in order to become self-sustainable.

Members of the community are, however, complaining that they are still to receive the 18 oxen apparently promised to them last year by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Marco Hausiku), which is responsible for the San Development Programme.

The community currently owns 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.

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

They say they want to start preparing their fields, but are worried that they might not be able to plough when the rainy season comes due to the lack of drought power. One of the resettled members, Ncuma Hausona told Nampa last Thursday that they are considering giving up on farming because they do not have the means to carry on.

“These oxen are really long-overdue, and we are wondering if they will ever be delivered,” he lamented.

Hausona said 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 fields.

Rundu Rural East Constituency Councillor Michael Shikongo said the San community has been continuously questioning him whether they will get the oxen this year.

Shikongo reiterated that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is yet to honour its promise of oxen for the community.

The Rundu Rural East Councillor stated that last year, he obtained a quotation to procure the oxen, but they were never acquired as the payment was never made.

The community was promised 18 oxen and other equipment needed for ploughing by Deputy Prime Minister Hausiku during a visit to the region in June last year, and the animals were supposed to have been delivered by September that year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity on Thursday, an official in the Office of the Deputy Minister said the purchasing of the oxen was put on hold last year due to logistical problems.

He, however, indicated that they are currently in the process of procuring the oxen for Likwaterera San community.

The oxen will be delivered to the community by September this year so that they can start crop farming.

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 never owned livestock due to their nomadic lifestyle.

The resettled community is also in need of a tap in their area, as the nearest borehole is about 1,5km away.

The San relocated 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.

Source : The Namibian