EU supports strategic drought relief
The Ambassador of the EU earlier this week announced that the EU will be donating an amount of US$20 million to assist various projects including drought relief, to help northern farmers with veterinary services, land development, water supply and NGO’s. The Ambassador noted “The idea of this project is to increase the market price of cattle by 17% over five years.
The only way this can be done is to decrease the number of cattle in the northern areas hoping that it will also prevent over-grazing and promote the quality of meat.
The project will be initiated in October this year and different farmers and stakeholders will still be engaged” the Ambassador added.
The Executive Director of the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), Mr Mwilima Mushokabanji explained “According to the Food and Agricultural Organization it is recommend that one extension officer needs to look after fifty farmers, In Namibia, the current ratio is one to two thousand.
“To boost agricultural production, livestock and agronomy, farmers need extension services and veterinary services, so the EU comes in to build institutions, extension services, provide scientific researchers and engage with unions.” he said.
Mushokabanji added that Namibian farmers will be provided better access to markets through the rehabilitation of the Katima Mulilo, Oshakati, and Kavango abattoirs.
He said that commodity-based trading will allow farmers to slaughter, process and add value, freeze meat and export processed meat.
Implementing mitigation strategies is very important, he said, since the African continent is most affected by drought because of changes in rainfall patterns, floods, and bush fires.
These calamities are however not new. “The only thing that is new is that the intensity and occurrences of this (drought) will be more due to climate change. NNFU covers all 14 regions, he said, stating “We believe that if one empowers small farmers, the economy can grow faster.”
He stressed that access to lucrative markets is crucial for farmers and is an intrinsic motivation adding that the NNFU advocates for “agri-preneurs”, farmers who see farming as a business and adapt mitigation strategies.
Mushokobanji noted that according to several scientific models, agriculture is most affected by climate change.
This, in turn, affects household food security. “Agriculture remains the backbone of the economy as more than 65% of the population resides in rural areas and subsists on its production” he stated.