Warmbad farmers risk losing 19,000 livestock to drought

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Matheus Hamutenya

Karasburg-Almost 19,000 animals are on the brink of starvation at Warmbad and surrounding farms, according to Karasburg East Constituency Councillor Dennis Coetzee.
Coetzee revealed this to New Era during a recent interview on the state of affairs in his area of jurisdiction, saying something urgently needs to be done to assist farmers, whose livelihood is wholly dependent on their livestock.

He described the situation as severe, noting that since last year, farmers from that area started approaching his office to look for assistance, as their animals were dying and he advised them to wait and see what the rainy season brings, but nothing has changed as only a few drops of rain fell in that area.

“We had hoped to receive better rainfall in that area, but the rain they received for the entire last rainy season is between 3 and 10 millimetres only, so you can imagine what that means,” he said.

According to his statistics, about 18,795 animals face death due to the lack of grazing areas, with goats making up most of the number, with about 8,679, as well as 7,297 sheep, 1,996 cattle, 456 horses and 367 donkeys.

He said the figures include animals of 29 communal and 28 resettled farmers within the Warmbad area. A visibly concerned Coetzee said something urgently needs to be done to remedy the situation, as it touches many lives.

The councillor explained that most of the farmers affected are full time farmers and are thus dependent on their livestock for survival. Sitting idle and letting them lose all their animals and their livelihood should not be an option.

“It is their only source of income and if we do not step in and help and these people lose the little they have, they lose their livelihoods,” he said.

Coetzee said although his office wants to render help, there are no funds to tackle a problem of this magnitude and he therefore hoped that relevant stakeholders can step in to help where possible.

He further noted that for now, his only hope for a quick solution is the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), saying he would table the matter at yesterday’s regional council meeting and brief //Kharas Governor Lucia Basson on the matter in person, before proceeding to notify the OPM of the crisis.

Warmbad is situated in the southernmost part of Namibia in the //Kharas Region.

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