Call to support Namibian drought disaster fund reaches South Africa

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Namibia is suffering the worst drought in recent history, with the entire country affected by the dry conditions leaving rangelands barren and parched.

Ryno van der Merwe, the president of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), says the Dare to Care Disaster Fund’s objective is to raise N$10 million as soon as possible. “We are committed to complete transparency and we have appointed independent auditors to audit the fund,” Van der Merwe says. The plight of Namibian farmers was heard in neighbouring South Africa as Namibia’s biggest agricultural trade partner and Farmers Weekly has published an article in which a call was made to support Namibia’s drought disaster fund. 

President Hage Geingob commented on the drought on Independence Day after information minister Stanley Simataa announced that Cabinet had approved over N$570 million to help distressed farmers and communities. Simataa said the comprehensive drought intervention plan includes food assistance to communities affected by drought and provision of water tankers.

The government, Simataa said, would also provide livestock management incentives and subsidies to farmers north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence hard-hit by drought. Livestock farmers would also be given transport subsidies to move their animals to and from grazing areas.
It was reported earlier this month that most households in several constituencies have run out of food, and have resorted to begging.

The agriculture ministry last month also reported that crop-producing regions would have no food by the end of May this year.
According to the report titled ‘Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Monitoring Assessment’, the affected regions are Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto.

“The situation is dire. Livestock herds have been cut dramatically and large-scale animal deaths are reported almost daily. Game farmers have also been hard hit and game animals are succumbing to the drought in droves,” Van der Merwe laments.
The fund had made it possible to subsidise more than 57 000 bags of animal feed to date. Van der Merwe says the distribution of the fodder would start early next month. The fund is a joined partnership between NAU, the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers’ Union (NECFU) and the private sector, and is administered by NAU.

According to Van der Merwe, the aim is to support communal, emerging and commercial farmers, who had been negatively affected by the drought.

While feed donations would not be distributed directly to farmers, purchases of animal feed including whole yellow maize, sheep fattening pellets, cattle fattening feed and lucerne pellets would be subsidised.