Erongo livestock in dire water need

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Staff Reporter
Windhoek

An assessment by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), has revealed that Erongo region has the lowest proportion of households (27.5 percent) with access to adequate water supplies for livestock, in comparison to Kunene (48.3%) and Omusati (80.1%).

As a makeshift, short-term measure, communities in Erongo and Kunene regions indicated that they needed urgent hay/fodder/concentrates and mineral supplements for their animals.

In Omusati the communities prioritised the rehabilitation/construction of dams, canals and boreholes. For medium to long-term requirements, the communities in the Erongo and Kunene regions indicated the need for a restocking programme once climatic and grazing conditions improve; whilst communities in Omusati indicated they would prefer the continued rehabilitation/construction of dams, canals and boreholes as their first priority to ensure resilience against future droughts.

The situation is especially grave for the regions of Erongo, Omusati and Kunene. Farmers affected by drought need support to facilitate a quicker recovery, re-establish their pre-disaster livelihoods, and enhance their resilience to future shocks.

Urgent assistance through i) provision of early maturing drought tolerant seeds and subsidised ploughing services ii) the provision of fodder and water targeted at preservation of the core livestock breeding herd, and iii) incentivised market oriented slaughter destocking/accelerated offtake programmes, aimed at reducing grazing pressure should be prioritised as part of the immediate humanitarian livelihood interventions.

Lastly, climate change is expected to have an increasingly intense impact on agriculture over the next decades, and the current institutional set-up is not equipped to support the sector in adapting to these changes.

These constraints would have to be considered and addressed, when designing relevant programmes, in order to build the agriculture sector back better.

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