THE fear of a looming drought is forcing communal farmers in the Kunene Region to sell their animals in haste and at give-away prices.
Until recently, average cattle prices at Opuwo were N$5 000 and N$8 000 for a cow and an ox respectively, but now, the prices have fallen up to 50 percent.
An ox now costs about N$4 000 while the price for a cow can be as low as N$2 000.
Residents of Opuwo and the surrounding villages say that no significant rainfall was registered in their area ever since the rainy season started.
The grazing is visibly poor and is degrading further due to a prolonged dry spell.
Occasionally, promising clouds appear in the sky, but then – and to the chagrin of desperate farmers – they disappear without a drop of rain.
They say that their animals “are already dying in the grazing fields”, mostly the big livestock.
Memories of the 2019 drought are still haunting them. “That is why we started selling at low, negotiable prices. Selling at low prices now is better than waiting to see our animals dying en masse later on.”
For them, buying animal feed is not a viable option.