WINDHOEK- Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) has urged the government to declare the 2014/2015 financial year a year of drought to allow relevant ministries and agencies to start mobilising resources to assist farming community.
“The cumulative effect of the two droughts has potentially a severe and negative impact on the economy in general. The farming community in particular, that includes both the livestock sector and the agronomic sector, is directly and negatively affected and is anticipating a very challenging season ahead and has proactively requested NNFU to pronounce itself on the situation,” says the NNFU in the report to be submitted to the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF). The NNFU also suggests in the report that the drought assessment process needs to be decentralised in order to make it faster to collect evidence needed by the cabinet before they can declare a “disaster drought”.
“On declaration of a “disaster drought”, government ministries and agencies responsible for putting in place response to the drought need to decentralise and delegate some responsibilities to regional government structures to reduce bureaucracy in order to allow faster access to services in such emergencies,” reads the report.
Furthermore, the union also suggests livestock marketing subsidy assessment and verification process to be decentralised and the marketing subsidy of N$300 for cattle and N$ 60 for small stock to be increased. Additionally, the union recommends fodder and lick subsidies, which operated in previous droughts to be reintroduced. Namibia is experiencing a country-wide drought that is characterised by the late erratic rain in some part of the country. The current drought comes at the back of the 2013/2014 season in which the country had another drought. Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba declared the year 2013 as state of emergency due to severe drought in that year.
Meanwhile, dispite recent good rainfall across the country, the NNFU Vice President, Ramana Mutjavikua, is off the opinion that these showers will not be enough to carry them beyond August.