THE 2019/2020-rainfall season is reported be delayed by at least one month in the Omusati region although good showers were received earlier in the season.
According to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation Report of the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry most parts of the region are reported to have received its first rain for the season early October. However, there were no follow up rains to back up the onset of the rainfall season, as most of October and entire November were dry.
In the meantime the regional Agricultural Extension Office indicated its readiness to start the ploughing season in terms of having the most necessary subsidy services in place. Only top dressing fertilizers are currently available and at the time of this report the region was still waiting for the basal dressing fertilizers stock to arrive.
The region was allocated 12 tons of improved pearl millet seed under the subsidy programme and due to transport constraints they only managed to collect half of the allocated amount. Moreover, the region is yet to receive free pearl millet seed as part of the drought relief programme.
At the farmers’ level, it was noted that, majority of farmers were unable to retain sufficient pearl millet seed, following the severe drought conditions which crippled the agricultural production last season.
With regards to ploughing services, the region reported that most government tractors were already dispatched to various agricultural centres for ploughing, ripping or planting services, except the few that are yet to be serviced or repaired. Registrations of farmers to participate in the government inputs and ploughing, planting and weeding services were still continuing.
No major livestock disease outbreaks were reported at the time of this report. However, livestock mortality as a result of ongoing drought conditions was widely reported in the area.
Water for both livestock and human consumptions was noted to be a challenge in many areas as most earth dams are dry and many households are dependent on pipelines, boreholes and wells for water supply.
On the household food security, the situation was noted to have weakened as most household run out of food stock from own production, following severe drought condition last season.