Farmers in the Omaheke region last year suffered losses in excess of N$8.8 million as a result of rampant livestock theft, governor Pijoo Nganate revealed last week.
Nganate made the revelation while addressing the region’s inhabitants last Friday. Livestock theft continues to be a problem for authorities in the Omaheke region. However, Nganate said from the N$8.8 million loss suffered last year, N$5.7 million were recovered.
He said 339 stock theft cases were reported to the region’s police during the last financial year, of which 962 were of big stock while 793 were of small stock.
Meanwhile, Nganate said the region, well known as cattle country, continues to be the champion in beef production, with emphasis on breeds that capitalise on the maximum output of beef, hence the desirable breeds for the market.
He said following the devastating drought that peaked in 2019, the good rainfall season that the region experienced, had a positive impact on the rangeland that is now recovering.
“With such turnaround of events, the region is expecting an increase in the livestock numbers with a resultant increase in the off-take at auctions,” Nganate said, adding that the market remains steady on the high side throughout this year and over 300 000 cattle are expected to pass through the auction pens this year alone.
He said the agriculture ministry continues to implement the Dryland Crop Production Programme and the Comprehensive Conservation Agriculture Programme (DCPP) in Omaheke region.
Under these projects, Nganate said about 700 hectares were cultivated in the region alone and the harvest is estimated to exceed 250 tons of maize, cowpeas, cooking melons, water melons and pumpkins combined.
In an effort to address food security at the household level, Nganate said the Directorate of Agricultural Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) provided ploughing service to 398 farmers, of which 281 were male and 117 female headed households.
Also, he said distributed under the DCPP subsidy, were 5 566kg of seeds, and 10 000kg of fertilisers to farmers.
In total, he said over 900 farmers benefited from the DCPP programme.
Currently, he said, the ministry is implementing several other projects in partnership with the NAMSIP to include in the horticulture and poultry value chain, and the hydroponic fodder production in Omaheke region.
All these projects, Nganate said are aimed at poverty alleviation and employment creation as well as household and national food security.
“Over 503 farmers benefitted from different programmes under the ministry,” Nganate stressed, adding that recent statistics show that over 60 female and 51 male received materials and equipment through these projects.