Grazing fair to good but critical in some areas

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Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro

Windhoek – Grazing conditions in the country have been reported as ranging between fair and good in most parts of the country following good rains in the last three months of the rainy season, albeit the July report of the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information [Unit NEWFIU], encompassing an assessment of the country’s situation between May 7 and June 4.

Zambezi, Kavango East and West regions reported good grazing, much better than the last season, and enough to sustain stock to the next rainy season. In the northern central regions of Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto, grazing conditions were reported poor to good in most parts of the regions with good conditions reported mostly in the enclosures and cattle posts areas. In Khomas region, grazing was reported fair in most places, but poor to very poor in the western part of the region.

In the regions of Kunene, Omaheke, //Kharas and Erongo, grazing during the assessment period ranged between poor and fair following sporadic and insufficient rainfall. Corridor 13 and Eiseb areas in Omaheke were reported most affected while Otjimbingwe, Spitzkoppe, Okombahe, Tubusis, Omatjete and Uis were the most affected in Erongo. Some farmers are reportedly already moving their livestock from one place to another in search of better grazing conditions. The shrub veld in the //Kharas was reported to have responded well to the late rains and in June was rated fair in condition.

The regions of Hardap and Kunene reported poor grazing conditions largely due to poor rainfall. The Hardap agricultural extension office reported no significant grass re-growth in Maltahöhe, Hoachanas and Gochas. Critical grazing conditions were reported in Aranos and eastern part of Rehoboth with some areas barely with any grass re-growth. The office had, therefore, begun encouraging farmers to reduce livestock herd to avoid losses to drought conditions while reportedly some farmers had been approaching the offices in the region requesting government support to start planting lucerne in the region.

Fair to good livestock body conditions were reported in most parts of the country. The north and extreme part of the country reported good livestock body conditions. But livestock conditions were feared to be deteriorating much earlier than usual in the Kunene region because of deteriorating grazing conditions. In the regions of Omaheke, Hardap and Erongo, livestock body conditions were reported ranging between fair and poor, especially cattle. The situation has been reported worse in Corridor 13 where some cattle needed assistance to stand up because of poor grazing conditions in the area.

No major livestock disease outbreaks were reported in the regions, but cases of foot rot and internal parasites in small stock were widely reported, especially in the north central regions. Lamb and kids mortalities were reported in the regions of //Kharas and Erongo due to lack of milk from their mothers, a situation associated with poor grazing. Sheep scab was also reported in the area of Berseba the region of //Kharas. Cases of Orf, pasteurllosis and pulpy kidney in small stock were also reported in the north central and Omaheke regions.

Regarding livestock water, the supply was reported to have improved significantly countrywide following good rainfall received in the last two months of the rainfall season. But water shortages were reported in the Hardap region affecting Kleinfontein 82, Binz No. 18, Halifax No. 113 and Fleyveld No.33d farms.

Water shortages were also reported the region of //Kharas due to poor maintenance and slow repair of infrastructures, especially in communal areas. The situation need urgent repair as animals were being increasingly strained. In Erongo, farmers were reported experiencing salty water in the Daures Constituency.

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