State of grazing critical
A comprehensive inter-agency Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted throughout the country revealed that poor grazing conditions are threatening the entire national livestock herd as drought conditions worsen.
The assessment was read by President Hifikepunye Pohamba who stated that a considerable number of large and small stock have already died as a result of the drought and in most cases, Pohamba said the condition of livestock is already poor. According to the President, there is an urgent need to sell some livestock in order to prevent further losses. He said consideration should also be given for the culling of game by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to prevent further loss of animals due to drought.
Namibia has been badly affected by drought due to poor rainfall after the first week of December last year. Unlike the floods, the drought situation is affecting the whole country. “My government is concerned about the destructive impact of the drought because by its nature, it is affecting both humans and livestock. The drought has already devastated many communities. In addition, this natural disaster has also negatively affected economic activities in our country,” said Pohamba.
Findings from the assessment showed that the harvest prospect for 2012/2013 indicates extremely low yields as drought conditions intensify. The crop production outlook in rain-fed areas indicate a massive reduction in maize production. In the communal crop producing regions, maize production is expectd to decrease by 48% below average. The production outlook for pearl millet is expected to decrease by 41% compared to the last season.
The assessment also revealed that household food security in most regions is tightening as widespread hunger is reaching a critical peak. Most households depleted their food stocks in September last year and mainly depend on markets for food.
To alleviate the drought situation, Pohamba said that the government will introduce a grazing subsidy appeal to those farmers and individuals who have grazing available to assist their fellow citizens.”I further direct that provision of water in areas where grazing is still available should be made available as a matter of utmost urgency,” he said. Pohamba appealed to all stakeholders as well as local communities to assist the government in every possible way they can in the drought situation.