Govt spends N$131m on drought relief

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WINDHOEK – Government has spent N$131 million towards drought relief, while it has received an extra N$129 million in donations to help farmers and families affected by the prevailing dry spell.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila made this revelation in Parliament on Wednesday, while tabling an unopposed motion to extend the state of emergency until 5 March next year.

She said the need to extend the period of state of emergency is necessitated by the prolonged drought that continues to affect negatively the livelihood of the people and the livestock.

By extending the period, government will also continue to expedite the relief efforts to the affected communities, she said.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said of the N$131 million spent, N$57.9 million went to food provision, N$18.9 million to logistic, N$37.5 million to water provision and N$16.6 million to livestock support. “The condition of grazing continues to deteriorate, leading reliance on fodder and other animal feeds distribution as a main way to sustain livestock,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told lawmakers, adding that the shortage of local supply of fodder and animal feeds pose a risk to the sustainability of the livestock support programme.

In this regard, she said an amount of N$33 million has been approved for enhancing fodder production at green schemes, which will be distributed to needy farmers.

“Up to 30 percent of the green scheme areas are under fodder production as a result of this support. Government will procure all free fodder from green schemes, subject to supply, and arrangements are made to pre-purchase such fodder,” she said.

She said government also has approved an introduction of a 50 percent subsidy scheme, to enable small-scale farmers in various parts of the country to erect non-mechanised fodder production facilities, and produce fodder by hydroponic means, to feed their animals.

“The subsidy scheme supports installation of hydroponic facility and purchase of seeds. The estimated cost of the facility is below N$10 000 including seeds. Farmers’ training is also planned on the use of hydroponic fodder production. Further information on this scheme is available at extension offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said water remains a challenge for many communities. For this, Cabinet has approved an amount of N $200 million towards the provision of water. “Investment in water will remain a priority, as an important input into development and as a resilience against future disasters. As indicated above, this effort is complemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism,” she stressed.

The Prime Minister said given the increase in incidences of vulnerability, there has been an increase in a number of beneficiaries to 172,938, up from an initial 42,000. As such, she said the government budget for drought has also increased from N$572.5 million to N$595.2 million.