Ohangwena Faces Severe Drought, Reduced Consumer Spending

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The Ohangwena region continues to face challenges that negatively affect its residents, such as severe drought and low economic activity.

The region has experienced less rainfall over the past months, which has led to poor harvests, and insufficient grazing rangeland is expected in the current rainy season.

According to regional governor Walde Ndevashiya, livestock farmers have begun looking for pasture in Angola.

He said this in his state of the region address at Eenhana on Monday.

“Based on the outcome of the preliminary flood impact assessment carried out, many crop fields were submerged, and this has led to poor harvests in the affected communities.

“In order to mitigate the far-reaching negative impacts of the flood, communities will need government intervention through the provision of drought-relief food.

“The office of the governor has been inundated with calls from farmers and traditional authorities from the region, requesting dialogue between the Namibian and Angolan authorities on the issue of livestock grazing.

“This further presents a need for the governments of Namibia and Angola to convene a high-level engagement to deliberate on the matter of Namibian farmers grazing in Angola,” he said.

Ndevashiya further called on the government to explore the possibility of the formalisation and granting of grazing rights, notably in the Cunene and Cuando Cubango provinces, given the influx of cattle farmers into that country in search of better pasture.

He said the region has observed a severe reduction in business activities, which has in turn led to reductions in consumer spending, business investment, government revenue and trade-related revenue.

“The situation has dampened the rate of economic growth in the local economy and has resulted in inflated prices for energy and food products, as well as imported commodities, and an impact on primary commodity exports, leading to a contraction in gross domestic product growth,” he said.

In line with the theme of the year, ‘The Year of Revival’, Ndevashiya said the region will see various local authorities reviving their economic activities through the hosting of business expos and festivals after three years of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He called on every resident in the region, especially the youth, to seriously undertake economic development initiatives, and to engage in business activities.

Meanwhile, the Ohangwena region continues to encounter a number of challenges hindering the effective execution of developmental programmes, he said.

The governor said poor road infrastructure and limited access to potable water, compounded by the slow pace of water infrastructure development, are among the challenges faced by the region.

With regards to education, Ndevashiya pointed to insufficient budgetary allocation for both operational and developmental purposes.
He said pupil enrolment is growing year by year, particularly at Een­hana, Helao Nafidi and Okongo, which increases the demand for more resources, including classrooms.

Ndevashiya says the region currently has only eight hostels serving 274 schools, and, consequently, 121 393 pupils.

To overcome the challenges facing the region, Ndevashiya urged residents to work together.

Source : Namibian