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Farmers get drought relief

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has announced that it will implement drought relief measures for livestock farmers affected by the current drought.
According to the minister, Hon John Mutorwa, details of practical imlementations for drought relief measures for both water supply and livestock sectors where addressed by cabinet after consultation with stakeholders such as the Namibia Agricultural Union, Namibian the National Farmers Union, the Meat Board and Meatco.
“There was a need to put together information by experts in order for the general information to be disseminated to the public. It should however be noted that these measures are merely to alleviate the drought problem, not solve the problem,” said Mutorwa. The farmers will be assisted through three measures, namely the marketing incentive scheme, the lease of grazing scheme, and with transport.
The marketing incentive is inclusive of out of hand transactions, slaughtering through abattoirs, auctioneers, permit day buyers as well as direct export to neighbouring countries on the hoof. Farmers who sold their animals will receive a subsiby of N$300 per head of cattle and N$70 per small stock unit.
All farmers that lease grazing may qualify for the lease of grazing subsidy, provided that in the case of communal areas, an animal movement permit, departure, and written permission of the traditional leader as the lessor, are annexed and in the commercial areas, an animal movement permit from the veterinary services, short term lease agreement as well as a removal certificate, are attached to the invoices supporting the claim.
Farmers will be subsidized for 50% of the lease to a maximum of N$40 per head per month and a maximum of 100 cattle per farmer will be subsidized for the lease of grazing support.
Farmers transporting animals to and from grazing areas may qualify for a transport subsidy, provided that in the case of communal areas, a movement permit is annexed. Additionally, only trucks and trailers registered at Natis for mass distance chargers will qualify and a duly filled and signed receipt must be attached to the transport claim before it wil be considered for payment.
To legitimise the transactions, Mutorwa said that an Agricultural Extension Technician or an Animal Health Inspector must attend all the auctions and permit days, certify all transactions and ensure proper recording of ear tag numbers of all livestock. He added that the Namibian Livestock Identification and Traceability System (NamLITS) and ear tag numbers of all animals sold to various buyers must be recorded by the extension staff at selling points.
A budget of N$168,994,900 was allocated for the water supply drought relief implementation plan which will be used to purchase drilling rigs, water and diesel tankers as well as the siting, drilling and installation of boreholes in all affected regions.
The implementation of the scheme will be backdated from 1 March 2013 and will run until the situation has officially been declared normal on the ground and until the budget has been exhausted.

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