Ohangwena farmers breathe a sigh of relief
The dam was inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture Water & Forestry (MAWF), John Mutorwa, last week over the weekend.
The Nghishongwa Earth Dam was built as part of MCAN’s Livestock Support Activity which aimed at, among other things, increase farmers’ income in the Northern Communal Areas. The dam has a capacity of 60.000 cubic metres and comes complete with a solar powered submersible pump, a pipeline to water storage tanks, livestock drinking troughs and a stock proof fence around it.
The Nghishongwa Dam is to provide for the simultaneous watering of large herds with more than 600 head of cattle and can hold water for up to two years, even allowing for villagers to venture into gardening projects.
For local farmer Matthew Popyeni Nanghama the new dam means instant prosperity. Nanghama said,“We used to travel long distances to get water for human consumption and also for our animals. Some people used to dig wells. But thanks to MCA Namibia this dam means wealth for us as our animals will flourish and we can also do vegetable farming and explore aquaculture projects.”
“This dam means that a lot of our youth can be employed in income generating projects and reduce or even eradicate crime in the area,” he added.
MCA N Deputy CEO for Operations, Sikongo Haihambo, said the Livestock Support Activity, which aimed at reducing barriers to economic activities and thereby allow livestock farmers to generate better income, made it vital to find solutions on how to permanently avail water to livestock.
“The provision of water points was an add on to the originally envisaged (livestock) intervention. We should be proud to have added 69 proper working water points to the grid of many in the NCAs solar systems were introduced, hand dug wells were made secure, water points were protected against elephant damage, pipelines were extended and this great earth dam was built,” said Haihambo.
In the past MCAN also has supported the introduction of a traceability system for cattle in the NCAs in order to be able to trace their movements from birth to the abattoir, built five state of the art Veterinary Clinics, upgraded quarantine camps in the Zambezi Region and supported hundreds of communal farmers through the Community Based Rangeland and Livestock Management (CBRLM). “We believe that the livestock sector is now better prepared for the future and that efforts will eventually lead to the declaration of animal disease free status for the NCAs by the World Animal Health Organisation, and thereby benefiting not only the NCAs, but the whole of Namibia, including the Epembe farming community,” said Haihambo.
Agriculture Minister Mutorwa urged the local community to jealously guard the Nghishongwa Earth Dam infrastructure that was made possible by the American taxpayers, reminding them that Namibia was a very dry country and that water meant life for them and their livestock.
“This dam will no doubt help improve the condition of your livestock and the farmers will get far better prices for their animals at the auctions,” the Minister said, adding that the government planned to take over from where MCAN had left off by constructing similar earth dams at selected settlements throughout the country,” he added.
Once again, he warned against theft and vandalism of the dam infrastructure. “There are solar panels and pumps. There is a fence around the dam. All these must be protected. If you take good care of this dam it will help you,” the minister urged.