Over N$850 000 raised towards drought


Corporate Namibia have raised an amount of N$863 479 towards the devastating drought crisis to assist the affected communal conservancies and rural farmers in the Kunene region.

This gesture follows an initiative by a non-governmental organisation - Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) that recently called an emergency workshop in Windhoek, convening government officials, development agencies, local corporate firms, and other non-governmental organisations to brainstorm urgent solutions to the devastating drought crisis.

IRDNC’s Executive Director John Kasaona said the workshop successfully led to raising N$863 479 contributions from the Debmarine Namibia, Namdeb Foundation, Ongava Game Reserve, Wilderness Safari, Agribank, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, Natural Selection and Dundee Precious Metals Tsumeb Community Trust for a Cash for Meat Carcass initiative in Kunene region.

He maintained conservancies and conservancy associations were pleased to broadcast the good news that Kunene farmers can bring forward cattle carcasses for cash. He said the Torra conservancy brought 10 carcasses from two farmers. Khoadi //Hôas conservancy sold 22 carcases from 10 farmers, while Anabeb conservancy sold 117 carcasses from 11 farmers. Ozondundu conservancy sold 55 carcasses and Sesfontein conservancy sold 70, totalling 274 carcasses so far. The field team led by IRDNC’s Cluster Coordinator Dave Kangombe toured Kunene conservancies buying cattle carcasses and distributing meat to the elderly and vulnerable members of the conservancies, as well as to local schools. “This ingeniously relieved farmers with cattle unlikely to survive beyond the drought crisis and simultaneously provided food to starving rural communities.

Some farmers made use of the cash income to buy fodder for their remaining herds, in the hope that their best breeds will endure to restock their kraals in the future,” Kasaona stated. This initiative simultaneously reduced pressure on scarce grazing for cattle and wildlife as well as reducing conflict between predators and cattle being forced into the few remaining spaces where grazing still occurred during this severe drought.

Since the early 1980s, IRDNC’s purpose has been to link conservation to the social and economic development of the people who live with wildlife and other valuable natural resources. Kasaona explained with permanent field teams in the Kunene and Zambezi regions, IRDNC observed the distressing effect of drought hitting communal conservancies and rural farmers in both regions with great concern.

“Plunging wildlife numbers, migration and illegal settlement of cattle farmers in search of better grazing, dying livestock and the eventual outcries of food deficiencies had IRDNC calling an emergency workshop in Windhoek,” he noted.

He confirmed planning and preparations immediately began; liaising with the directorate of veterinary services, the Namibian police, ministry of agriculture, regional councillors’ offices and the directorate of disaster risk management in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The field team proceeded northwards in the Kunene to include conservancies such as Puros, Otjikondavirongo among others. With the rain appearing to be promising so far in the year, farmers in northwest Namibia and other parts of the country hope to recover their herds lost during the drought crisis.

Two beneficially farmers, Chief Justus Muteze and Angelika Kasaona, members of the Kunene traditional authorities including Chief Lucky Kasaona and Chief Rikambura expressed their gratitude to the donating corporate firms. Angelika is thankful for both IRDNC and the donors. “One of my cattle died the same day the project staff arrived,” she said. “With the money received, I was able to buy fodder for my other cattle in the hope they can survive the drought.”

“Most donors have mostly been of international origin for this type of conservation projects. I am very thankful to hear our own local companies donating to our rural communities,” Chief Lucky expressed. He further noted that Kunene is one of the regions with the poorest communities and low rainfall, and urged donors and non-governmental organisations such as IRDNC to innovate sustainable solutions in the future. Chief Rikambura thanked all the donating companies for the assistance rendered to the residents of Kunene, although he said his area of jurisdiction did not benefit from the project. “Our cattle have been dying endlessly and we still have not received good rains so far.”