Drought ravages rural Omaheke … Otjinene worst affected
15 May 2013 - Story by Albertina Nakale
CORRIDOR 17 - Aminuis Constituency Councillor Erwin Uanguta has appealed to the Office of the Prime Minister's Risk and Disaster Management Unit to broaden the provision of drought relief food to all households in drought-stricken areas.
Currently, only those who can prove that they do not have livestock at all receive maize meal distributed by the Omaheke Regional Council. He said households with livestock are now caught in a situation where they cannot sell cattle due to the poor condition of their livestock and the low prices being offered for livestock in a reasonable condition. “This results in these households having no resources to provide for their basic food requirements like maize meal. Therefore, it is crucial that these households perceived to have livestock also be registered for drought relief food. The addition of cooking oil and beans will add value to the diet and ensure human survival,” Uanguta explained.
He is hopeful that the Office of the Prime Minister through the Omaheke Regional Council will heed his appeal for urgent action to minimise livestock losses, ensure food security at household level and avoid the loss of human lives due to hunger and starvation. The Omaheke Region is one of the regions worst affected by the countrywide drought that has decimated swathes of pastures.
Uanguta further appealed to the government to take a fresh look at the effect the drought is having on humans, which is threatening food security at household level and the survival of livestock due to dwindling grazing.
After several calls by farmers to provide them with a subsidy, government has finally revisited its decision and will now provide a subsidy for fodder to livestock farmers. It is reported that large numbers of livestock have perished already and continue to perish due to the drought.
In addition, the Otjinene Constituency Councillor Aldophus Kangootui said Otjinene is also hard hit by the drought. “I believe we are the hardest hit part of the Omaheke Region compared to others. Otjinene has a high concentration of animals – be it goats, cattle or sheep. Our government has allocated three to four water tankers to the Otjombinde Constituency without taking into consideration where the concentration of animals is greatest, which is Otjinene. For argument’s sake, Otjinene contributes about 27 percent to the livestock market in the whole region,” he charged.
Kangootui appealed to the government to provide the Otjinene area with at least three water tankers to assist farmers in order to save some of their livestock from the current drought.
“We sent a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry through the Governor's Office last year, but there has been no response to this day,” he noted.
According to him, about 3 000 livestock perished in the area as a result of the current drought in the Otjinene area alone. “Some of the animals were lost due to veld fires that also caused the severe drought. We want government to transport water to areas that are most affected such as Ehungiro and Okehijomuramba. It is a serious situation – all villages created in the 1950s and beyond have no grazing which can help our animals not to perish,” Kangootui said.