By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE deleterious armyworm that invaded the country’s biggest agricultural projects this year has destroyed 720 hectares. The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed.
On Thursday last week Agriculture Deputy Minister Anna Shiweda told National Assembly that a total of 720 hectares were destroyed in Omusati and Kavango West regions of which 220 hectares were at Etunda, 470 hectares at Musese and 30 hectares at Olushandja.
“In addition, a total of 1 260 hectares under maize were affected to a lesser extent at Sikondo, Uvhungu- Vhungu, Ndonga Linena, Shandikongoro and Shitemo Green Scheme projects.
“Furthermore 6 500 hectares of maize were also affected in the maize triangle. The final losses resulting from this pest outbreak will be evaluated after the final harvest, as some of these affected crops are at different stages of development,” she said.
She also said that her ministry needed N$672.7 million to implement measures in place to assist drought affected farmers and communities. However, the ministry only had N$260 million to implement six measures.
“It is important to point out that out of the initial budget of N$672.7 million, only N$153.9 million was eventually made available for implementation of all seven drought measures. This is less than one third of the total amount that was requested for the implementation of seven measures.
“Given that limited amount of funds were at our disposal, Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MWAF) in consultation with the directorate of the disaster and risk management, agreed to utilise the whole N$153.9 million for purchasing and distribution of the food for human consumption. As a result, the six measures could not be implemented.
“MWAF through its field staff is closely monitoring the situation in Erongo and Kunene regions as well
as the other regions that are still experiencing drought. An assessment will be carried out by the end of the rainy season to determine the areas that will still need to be assisted.
“It is however, imperative to mention here that the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the ministry and regional councils is currently assisting 500 drought affected farmers in Kunene, 900 drought affected farmers in Erongo and 200 farmers in Omusati regions.”
She concluded that this assistance is in the form of multi-vitamin blocks and Lucerne bales for the animals. The total cost of this assistance is valued at US$500 000 which translates to approximately N$6.5 million.
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