Grazing in most areas have not yet recovered from the effects of the last season’s dry season, veld fires as well as the 2012/2013 drought, warns the Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report, released by the government last week.
In the North Eastern part of the country (Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions), grazing have improved slightly after the March -April rainfall. In the Eastern part of Zambezi (low-lying areas), grazing was noted to be fair and is expected to deteriorate much earlier before the next rainfall season. However, elsewhere in the region grazing was observed to be good and farmers indicated that it is enough and will sustain livestock till next season, if no veld fires occur. In the regions of Kavango East and West, the situation is almost similar to Zambezi. Many farmers are likely to lose some of their livestock to drought this year. Water for livestock is satisfactory through the boreholes and or pipeline in most areas in the inland, and rivers and streams in areas along the rivers.
Grazing condition in the Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati regions is worrisome and in most places range between poor to very poor, except in the cattle post areas in the southern part of Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto regions. In the Ohangwena region, grazing is also poor, except in the extreme eastern part of the region where poor to fair grazing conditions were reported. Many farmers in these areas have already started moving their livestock to cattle post areas for better grazing condition. Water availability for livestock is poor in most parts of these regions as many earth dams in other water catchments did not receive any significant inflow this season. The situation is said to be critical in the remote and cattle post areas in these regions.
In the Kunene region grazing is critical to poor in most parts but fair especially where no water is available for livestock, including some isolated parts of Morewag, Ovikango and Omakange. In some farms in the Outjo area grazing is poor while those farms in the Kamanjab area pasture is reported to range between fair to good. In the Erongo region, grazing condition in the communal areas was reported to be poor in most parts, and fair in some areas, especially where no water is available for livestock including some isolated parts of Uis (south) and Spitzkoppe (north). The situation is reported to be worse at Utuseb and many farmers are very much worried about the poor grazing condition in the area. Animals in this area depend entirely for their main source of fodder, on Anna pods from the Anna trees that do not bear fruits/flowers during this season due to the drop in underground water. In the commercial area, grazing is reported to range from poor to good. Grazing in farms in the Karibib constituency were reported fair to poor, while those in the Omaruru constituency reported fair to good.
In the //Karas region, grazing conditions in the communal areas especially the Berseba constituency (Bethanie, Tses and Berseba areas) were reported to range between fair to poor in the northern parts (Phalz, Swartrand to Kutenhoas) and poor to critically poor towards the south (Soromaas, Kosis, Sniprivier, Snyfontein) of the constituency. In the Tses area the grazing conditions were reported to be critically poor especially around the Kalkplateau area. However, after the April-May rainfall, there was a significant improvement in grazing around the Vaalgras and Blouwes areas. The western section of the Karasburg communal areas (Bondelswartz) reported good grazing conditions, after good rainfall in the area. However, the commercial areas reported fair to poor grazing conditions. Berseba, Bethanie in the Karasburg constituency reported poor grazing conditions. Poor grazing conditions were also reported at Aroab and Naute dam in the Keetmanshop constituency and some cattle are reported to have died due to drought. The water table is said to have dropped in most areas commonly known for shallow underground water, and this was attributed to the poor rainfalls in the past consecutive seasons.
In the Hardap region, grazing conditions were reported to be poor to fair. Farms in the Gibeon area to the west of the Fish River grazing were reported to range between poor to extremely poor while farms in the Schwartzrante fair grazing conditions were reported. Farms on the Kalk Plato were reported to be poor to fair due to the poor and highly isolated rainfall. Farms in the Hoachanas area are also poor to fair while farms in the Rehoboth area are critically poor with the exception of a few that are in a fair condition.
The Omaheke region’s grazing conditions were reported to range from fair to good in the communal area. However, major parts of the Aminuis constituency, especially the entire Aminuis ward and some of the Corridor 13 ward reported poor grazing conditions. Only small parts that consist of Corridor 13, 14 and 15 were found to have fair grazing due to higher downpours. The Otjombinde constituency, especially the ward of Tallismanus in Rietfontein was recorded as poor due to low rainfall, however parts to the west and towards Eiseb 10 are good. This is solely due to the occurrence of poisonous plants including the shortage of water. In large parts of the Otjinene Epukiro constituencies, including and Otjinene wards, grazing were found to range between poor to fair. This was due to late rains received towards the end of March and the beginning of April this year. In the commercial areas most grazing was reported to range between fair to good. However, some farms especially in the Steinhausen and Summerdown areas grazing was reported poor to fair. Farms in the Leonardville area towards Aranos in the Hardap region experienced some challenges with the regrowth of grazing. This is suspected due the exceptional high downpours recorded over a short period of time that washed away the top soil. Some farms reported around 300mm in 24 hours that caused severe natural environmental damages such as erosion.
In the Otjozondjupa region, grazing conditions range from poor to good in the communal areas. The major part of the Tsumkwe constituency reported fair to good grazing while in the Gam area grazing was found to be poor due to late rains and high stocking densities. In the Okakarara constituency grazing is poor due to insufficient rains received. Some farms in the Otjituuo and Coblenz areas reported fair grazing conditions due to their fences and lower stocking densities. In the commercial areas, grazing was reported to range between poor to fair. Farms in the western part of Otjiwarongo towards Kalkfeld reported poor grazing and late rains that resulted in poor re-growth of grasses. East and south of Otjiwarongo grazing conditions improved significantly due to higher rainfall measured. Farms in the Otavi constituency also reported fair to good grazing including those farms in the Grootfontein area. However, some farms reported poor grazing due to poor rainfall received. The supply of water was reported to be satisfactory through the existing boreholes in the area. However, farmers requested that more boreholes be drilled in areas where enough grazing exist.