Farmersabandon droughtassistance fund

THE Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says it has already put plans in place to mitigate the impact of the looming drought.

Namibia faces prospects of prolonged drought as the country has not received adequate rain in the face of predictions of an El Nino phenomenon hitting southern Africa this year.

According to the latest issue of the NAU’s weekly newsletter, the union is aware of its responsibilities to its members.

“After careful reflection by the management of the NAU, we have come to the conclusion that the Dare to Care fund will not be the most appropriate vehicle in this round of drought challenges,” the union said.

The Dare to Care fund for drought assistance was established by the agricultural sector, including the NAU, the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union and the private sector.

It is administered by the NAU and aims to reach out to all farmers by subsidising livestock feed at the retail outlets of Kaap Agri and Agra.

“The business environment is less favourable for donations, forcing us to pursue different avenues,” the NAU said.

The union said it would support its members with moral, psychological and practical support through a video series, while continuously raising awareness with government and stakeholders of the national extent of the drought.

“We join forces with other agricultural unions to find the best possible solutions and make meaningful government support a reality.

“The first step in on-farm drought planning is to accept the reality and implement plans accordingly. The reality is that herds have to be reduced in times of drought and that this suppresses the market,” the NAU said.

The union said slaughter and marketing capacity would increase from May and the sooner marketing plans are in place, the better.

The NAU advised farmers to avoid panic by marketing their livestock early.

“We invite everyone to share contributions where farmers can support one another, where practical suggestions can be shared, but also what keeps you going.

“With limited funds at our disposal, we can still do a great deal for each other – support, encourage, care, make suggestions or allow someone to just talk and listen,” the farmers’ union advised.

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