OREVIA – Farmers at Orevia in the Omaheke Region have since last year lost 123 cattle due to the severe drought affecting 900 000 people in the country.
Because of the stock losses communal farmers say close to 100 people in dire straits.
Ukarapo Tjirombora, the headman and traditional councillor of Orevia, told New Era that to make matters worse, the machinery which pump water to the only water point in the area broke down last year already and have not been repaired.
The community now depends on a borehole, which also does not contain “sufficient water”, as it is apparently not very deep to provide the required quantity of water, according to Tjirombora.
Tjirombora said that consequently residents have had to stop gardening, which has always been a means of providing food as they used to plant mealies, carrots,onions and other crops for own use.
“Even the dam has no water,” he said, adding that the foundation is broken and trees have started growing in the base of the dam.
Tjirombora said the community made a submission to government already in 2000 to have their water point renovated but nothing has come of it.
“We are happy with the food that government is giving, but government must do something for our cattle,” said Tjirombora.
Another resident of Orevia, Mesag Kavirindi, said the drought is very disturbing and maintained that government must introduce some form of subsidy as the ones in place are not helping much to alleviate their situation.
He said that the process of getting a subsidy was also cumbersome and expensive as they have to spend money when travelling to Gobabis to make claims, while their livestock sell for peanuts.
Pumaa Katuuo, another resident, said that sometimes it is difficult to tell how many animals have died of drought, because the cattle go deep into the veld and die there or fall into holes and are unable to get out.
Other farmers in the drought-stricken Omaheke Region have also called on government to come up with some form of subsidy if they are to survive the drought.
They complained that that the amount of subsidy government gives for every animal sold could hardly buy a bag of fodder and claimed that other governments were subsidising their farmers to stay in business as agriculture is an important contributor to the national economy.
Gabriel Kangowa, the Deputy Director of Risk Management in the Office of the Prime Minister said they have been supplying bags of maize, weighing 12.5 kg each to those in need and have covered many areas that need assistance.
He said although drought relief food was initially for the San people, now with the food crisis in the area, everyone was being accommodated.
Jeff Kandjii of the agriculture ministry said they have identified areas where new boreholes needed to be drilled in Aminuis.
By Magreth Nunuhe