Some 20 community members from Kavango West received 20 ewes and one ram each from the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, through the Small Stock Development and Distribution to Communal Areas (SSDDCAs) project.
The goats were handed over to the selected beneficiaries last week Friday at the Alex Muranda Livestock Development Centre, 80 km west of Rundu along the Rundu-Grootfontein road.
SSDDCAs is a capital project initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry as a follow-up phase of another similar successfully implemented project known as Small Stock Support Project (SSSP), which was piloted and implemented in the Hardap, //Kharas and Omaheke regions to address the issues of poverty among Namibian communities with assistance from the European Union (EU) in 2008 and during the implementation of the SSSP, 141 people benefitted in the first round which eventually resulted in 320 beneficiaries after the goats multiplied.
The number of animals increased from an initial 2 961 to 14 400 with a combined value of N$12.2 million, as the beneficiary families pass on the multiplied animals to other beneficiaries.
Due to the significant impact of the SSSP, as demonstrated above, the MAWF has initiated the SSDDCAs as a follow-up phase.
“This phase will be rolled out to the communal areas in all 14 regions with Kavango West, Oshana and Kunene as the first to benefit. This project is aimed at providing quality core breeding flock of suitable local small stock to selected vulnerable households to gain a sustainable means of income generation and food supply, which will improve their social and economic well-being,” stated Mutorwa.
“It is a privilege for Kavango West Region to be the first region to benefit from the follow-up phase of the Small Stock Development and Distribution in the Communal Areas.
“I am also glad that the selection has been inclusive of all key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, this being the ministry, the Regional Council, Traditional Authorities and Farmers Association,” said the Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku.
She further told Mutorwa that she was indeed happy he took the initiative to bring the project to the Kavango West Region.
“I believe this is a step to eradicate poverty in the region. Kavango West Region being the poorest region with the highest level of poverty, this is a battle I can’t fight alone. I need everyone to come together be it the government or community,” Ausiku said.
Ausiku further told the beneficiaries to work hard and not neglect the goats. “Remember the future of the project depends on your hard work because others will have to also receive goats like yourselves and these goats will have to come from you. So please take this seriously and make sure after four years you have the necessary goats required to handover to the next person so that others can also benefit from the project,” she said.
The project is also expected to empower the beneficiaries as well as their neighbouring communities with training in small stock management.
“It is a well-known fact that vulnerable households either own a few livestock or none; hence they are severely affected by natural calamities such as drought and floods. Therefore, this project will assist in mitigating the effects of these natural calamities,” Mutorwa said.
The beneficiaries were selected from the seven constituencies of the Kavango West Region.