WINDHOEK- President Hage Geingob yesterday declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas a national disaster. Since 2013, most parts of Namibia recorded below normal rainfall, thereby leaving the grazing land exhausted and with little recovery.
This is the third time in six years that the government has declared a state of emergency. In his declaration, Geingob said “following consultations with cabinet and the wider government system, I declare under Article 26 of the Namibian Constitution that a State of Emergency exists on account of the natural disaster of drought in all regions of the Republic of Namibia.”
The Head of State said all offices, ministries and agencies and all other stakeholders will be mobilized to ensure that the necessary assistance is rolled out to affected communities.
“The rain season is almost over and we did not receive good rainfall. This means that we are facing the natural disaster of a drought and many will be affected by the situation,” Geingob said. He said as a responsible and caring government, leaders have to take proactive measures to deal with the worst effects of the drought.
During this period, Geingob said government shall endeavour at all times to protect Namibians and their livestock from the drought.
Cabinet recently directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to advise farmers in areas with poor grazing to take precautionary measures, as drought looms due to erratic rainfall. These measures include destocking and culling of animals while the livestock is in good shape.
Most farmers in regions such as Kunene and Omaheke have already started losing their livestock due to drought effects being felt in some parts of the country.
According to the ministry of agriculture’s “Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report” for July 2018, the production of white maize was estimated at 59 000 metric tons, of which 55 656 metric tons were marketed. In the case of mahangu, the total production was estimated at 83 500 metric tons, of which about 3 600 metric tons were registered for formal marketing but to date, only 1 361 metric tons were marketed. This leaves a balance of 2 239 metric tons not marketed.
The others include repairing and installation of boreholes, and where possible, introducing water tanker services to the affected areas.
Cabinet also directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to ensure timely and sufficient allocation of production inputs and expedite the repair of government tractors, in order to enhance productivity in the crop-growing regions during the cropping season.