Drought-Hit Farmers in Crisis

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By Michael Liswaniso

OPUWO

David Tjimuhiva, senior traditional counsellor of the Uukwaludhi Traditional Authority in the Omusati Region at Omakange, some 50 km outside Opuwo, says more than 3 600 cattle from the Kunene Region have been relocated to his area of jurisdiction since last year following severe drought that has hit most parts of the country.

He made the remarks this week during a brief interview with New Era.
He blamed the poor rains for the severe drought that has left many parts overgrazed and over 100 cattle together with other small livestock dead.

He noted that even though there has been a call from senior leaders urging residents to sell off some of their cattle and small livestock rather than to lose them, Tjimuhiva says he has not found a viable market since last year.

Kunene regional governor Dudu Murorua is one among such senior leaders who urged residents to sell off some of their livestock late last year.

Tjimuhiva said that most buyers are not interested in weak livestock while others are also cautious of having larger herds in case it does not rain.

He thus appealed to Government to find a viable market for farmers who are hard hit by drought, adding that Government should also drill more boreholes in affected communities.
He mentioned places such as Onandjila, Omateteue and Otjiheke as villages that urgently need boreholes.

“The community is really affected by drought. Land is totally overgrazed and even if it rains heavily today, we won’t see grass because the land is totally overgrazed,” said Tjimuhiva.

The senior counsellor also pointed out that livestock have to travel long distances to grazing and water points, which contributes to their physical weakness. It is reported that livestock travel at least 16 km a day to reach these points.

Echoing the same sentiments was Johannes Muhimba, the chairperson of the Omakange traditional authority who said he was a “victim” of a poor viable market recently when his trip to Ruacana to sell off his livestock proved futile.
“None of my livestock were bought, we are suffering,” he lamented.
Ruacana is 106 km from Omakange and has not received any rain since late last year.

Farmers from Kunene are resettled in 12 different villages, among them Okomakuara, Onamandanga, Omatumba, Otjivandu, Ovimbu and Okozondjimbi.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks according to the counsellor, one resident nearly committed suicide after he lost 50 cattle.

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