Drought relief scheme in pipeline

An amount of N$20 million was approved by Government last week for a voucher procurement system that will act as some form of drought relief measure to aid farmers. The scheme, after implementation will subsidise farming inputs for the farmers and will ensure less financial burden.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa said that this scheme will allow dry land crop farmers south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, namely Omaheke Region, Otjozondupa Region and the southern part of the Oshikoto Region, to purchase maize, pearl millet, bean and groundnuts seeds and fertilizers from registered suppliers within the country.

The Agro Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA) will implement this scheme after the agency had carried out a similar prior scheme and executed the administration thereof.

A monitoring and evaluation plan will be incorporated and is aimed at bringing about transparency and accountability to propose dry land cropping inputs relief programme. The Ministry’s Directorate of Planning and Business Development in collaboration with the other partners will verify crops planted and yield of the beneficiaries and produce a final report.

The Directorate of Agriculture, Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) and the Directorate of Agricultural Research and Development (DARD) staff in regional offices, AMTA field staff, as well as the constituency offices will also be involved in the implementation of this scheme.

The objective is to assist all farmers in cropping areas by subsiding inputs such as seed and fertilizers. The subsidy will cover 50% of the input cost per hectare for the current season.

According to AMTA, prospective suppliers of inputs should register with AMTA to participate in the scheme as a voucher procurement system will be used. The vouchers are only applicable for the procurement of dryland maize, pearl millet, groundnut, bean seeds and fertilizers.

Proof will need to be provided for expenditures of input cost for the current season or a sworn declaration thereof. The

Qualifying farmers will need to register at the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), Directorate of Agriculture, Production, Extension and Engineering Services, Directorate of Agricultural Research and Development and the Agro Marketing and Trade Agency regional offices, as well as at the their respective Constituency offices where applicable.

Farmers who are committed to produce dryland (rainfed) maize, pearl millet bean and groundnuts during the current season also qualify.