Over 60 000 livestock died of starvation this year: !Naruseb

With the prolonged drought in the country, more than 60 000 livestock have succumbed to famine, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MWAF), Alpheus !Naruseb has said.

!Naruseb announced this during a consultative meeting of Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila with regional governors and chief regional officers here on Wednesday.

Without mentioning the exact numbers of livestock perished per region, he noted that Kunene; Omusati; Oshana; Oshikoto; Erongo and //Kharas Regions are the most drought-stricken.

Addressing the meeting, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said so far N.dollars 131 million has been spent toward drought relief expenses of which N.dollars 16.6 million has been spent on livestock through free fodder.

She noted that from the budget of N.dollars 595.2 million earmarked to assist through the drought relief programme, an amount of N.dollars 112 million will assist on livestock support through free fodder.

The challenges related to reliance on conventional grazing of animals during this drought period, alerted us to the need to adopt more innovative and drought resilient methods, harnessing new technologies, she noted.

The Prime Minister further noted that government acknowledges the introduction of the hydroponic system, which produces fodder in seven days and could feed many cattle, therefore government has approved a subsidy scheme to support small-scale farmers who want to venture into non-mechanized fodder production.

She added that the subsidy covers half of the cost of installation of the facility of N.dollars 10 milliion including seeds.

Farmers training on the use of hydroponic fodder production is also planned. I urge our farmers to approach MAWF offices to participate in the scheme.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila noted that the National Assembly (NA) extended the period of the emergency for six months, which will lapse on 05 October 2019, however on Wednesday afternoon she will table a motivation in the NA to extend the period by a further six months to 05 March 2020.

Source: Namibia Press Agency