Vulnerable rural communities continue to benefit from the small livestock programme that is aimed at eradicating poverty among impoverished rural people.
The majority of Namibians – specifically in rural areas – rely heavily on livestock farming as a means of sustenance.
The Small Stock Development and Distribution to Communal Areas (SSDDCAs) initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) gives aspiring small livestock breeders a number of goats and sheep to breed for their own benefit, as well as other families and their respective communities.
The latest beneficiaries were 20 families from Oshana Region, who on Thursday received over 400 boer goats from Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda.
The beneficiaries were selected by their peers, with the assistance of traditional and political leaders. They hail from all 10 constituencies of Oshana Region. Each constituency selected two beneficiaries and each family received 20 ewes and one bull.
According to Shiweda, the beneficiaries are expected to breed and give back 21 goats to MAWF in five years’ time, for the revolving programme to benefit other farmers.
SSDDCAs is an additional small livestock programme in the ministry of agriculture, in addition to the Small Stock Support Project, which was piloted and implemented in the Hardap, //Karas and Omaheke regions in 2008.
“The SSDDCAs is a follow-up phase of another similar, successfully, implemented project, known as the Small Stock Support Project, which was made possible with generous assistance from the European Union,” Shiweda explained.
During the implementation of the Small Stock Support Project a total of 141 beneficiaries benefitted from the first round, implemented across three regions. The project has since expanded to benefit a total of 350 beneficiaries to date.
The number of animals also increased from the initial 2 961 to a total 7 350, with a combined value of N$6.62 million. In addition, beneficiaries in //Karas Region recently received 620 goats to the value of N$589 000.
“The SSDDCAs is being rolled out to the communal areas in all 14 regions. The project was launched in Kavango West Region in May 2015. Kunene Region was second and Oshana Region is now the third region to benefit,” she said.
Shiweda further explained that the drought situation that has affected the entire country compelled her ministry to postpone Oshana Region’s handover for almost a year in order to allow the rangeland conditions to improve. She also advised the beneficiaries to ensure that the goats are well taken care of.