By Albertina Nakale
Windhoek — Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to advise farmers in areas with poor grazing to take precautionary measures, as drought looms due to erratic rainfall.
These measures include destocking and culling of animals while the livestock is in good shape.
Most farmers in regions such as Kunene and Omaheke have already started losing their livestock due to drought effects being felt in some parts of the country.
Announcing Cabinet briefings last week, Minister of Information Communication and Technology, Stanley Simataa, said Cabinet directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, in collaboration with regional councils, to monitor the situation and respond accordingly in areas affected by poor agricultural production.
"Everywhere you travel, you see drought staring in your face. All boreholes [that are] not functional need to be fixed. Where there are no boreholes, resources need to be made available. Let us use water sparingly. Let us not wait for the President to tell us. We need to change the culture of wasting water," he urged Namibians.
He said this should be done through the identification of food insecure people and requesting food assistance from the government.
The agricultural ministry has already made a move after it announced that government would buy the available mahangu from Namibian farmers through the state-owned Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta).
Percy Misika, the executive director in the ministry of agriculture, recently announced that government had made arrangements with Amta to buy surplus mahangu from the crop-growing regions of the country.
Mahangu farmers have been struggling to sell their surplus grain after the harvesting season in 2018.
According to the ministry of agriculture's "Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report" for July 2018, the production of white maize was estimated at 59 000 metric tons, of which 55 656 metric tons were marketed.
In the case of mahangu, the total production was estimated at 83 500 metric tons, of which about 3 600 metric tons were registered for formal marketing but to date, only 1 361 metric tons were marketed. This leaves a balance of
2 239 metric tons not marketed.
The others include repairing and installation of boreholes, and where possible, introducing water tanker services to the affected areas.
Cabinet also directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to ensure timely and sufficient allocation of production inputs and expedite the repair of government tractors, in order to enhance productivity in the crop-growing regions during the cropping season.