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Government declares 202223 drought year

26 Jul 2023

 Government has declared 2022/2023 a severe arable agricultural drought year throughout the country.

A press release from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says the declaration made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, follows consideration of the 2022/23 Drought and Household Food Security Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Report.

The report highlights that livelihoods of a significant number of rural households have been affected and remain vulnerable, hence, the need for government intervention.

“In view of the conditions that prevailed during the 2022/23 season, relief measures, action and assistance will be implemented with immediate effect until June 30, 2024, save for livestock feed subsidies which will end on the January 31, 2024,” it states.

It says the Ministry of Finance will pay 40 per cent of the seasonal loans to farmers who received loans from the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and National Development Bank (NDB) for rain fed arable farmers through the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) facility to supplement the crop failure as was determined at the time of the assessment

As for Ministry of Agriculture the release says provision will be made for 30 per cent livestock (beef cattle, small stock) feed Subsidy for roughage, mineral supplements and botulism vaccine for the entire country with immediate effect until January 31, 2024 while volumes would be capped per beneficiary to promote equitable distribution.

Additionally the media release says provision will be made for a 30 per cent subsidy for non-traditional commodities (dairy, piggery, aquaculture and poultry) for smallholder farmers, with immediate effect until January 31, 2024 with volumes to be capped per beneficiary to promote equitable distribution.

Furthermore 50 per cent subsidy will be provided for acaricides and antibiotics for control and treatment of animals with amblyomma (bont tick) and dermatophylosis (Senkoba) in Okavango and North West Districts, with immediate effect until end of January next year. The acaricides and antibiotics will be tied to the available stock per farmer,” it states

It says the relief programmes will extend the Impact Accelerator Subsidy (IAS) to cover irrigation of field crops through borehole equipping and water reticulation in commercial production clusters.

Grants at 100 per cent will be provided for solar electrification of field fences in elephant prone areas, and this is to be done in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks for cost effective solar electrification options.

The press release explains that under the Ministry of Health, ministry will continue with a consistent supply of ready-to-use therapeutic foods for children with acute malnutrition.

Under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, assistance will cater for the increase of the Ipelegeng quota by an additional 10 000 slots to cater for the high number of beneficiaries on the waiting lists as a result of limited seasonal jobs in the arable agricultural sector.

The release says assistance will also result in the increase of the budget for running costs (materials and tools) to cater for additional projects resulting from the increased Ipelegeng quota.

It says the drought relief programme will also continue the Supplementary Feeding Programme at all primary schools and health facilities through the provision of two (2) meals at primary schools (breakfast and mid-day meal) and provision of three (3) meals in recognised settlements at Remote Area Communities (RACs).

Provision of blanket supplementary feeding for children aged 6-59 months, single ration for normal growth and moderate underweight children and double ration for severely underweight children will also be catered for, it explains.

The programme will also result in the continued provision of a special food basket for underweight children (6-59 months) in all areas with total underweight prevalence of 10 per cent or more.

The press release says the prominent features of the report indicated that distribution of rainfall over the entire season (October 2022 to March 2023) was fair over space but poor over time.

It says the season had two distinct patterns where distribution was good during the first half of the season and poor during the second half. It adds that the prolonged dry spells during January and March 2023 exacerbated the situation resulting in below normal rains during the second half of the season.

The press release says during the second half of the rainfall season (January to March 2023), only the south eastern areas and eastern Ngamiland received significant rains.

“Kgalagadi, Ghanzi and western Ngamiland were particularly dry. Long dry spells were experienced in January (21 days) and March (12 days). Only the month of February received good rains. The temporal distribution of rainfall was poor even in areas exhibiting good rainfall, thus a moderate meteorological dry season,” says the media release.

Additionally,  the bulk of the biomass around the country is dominated by annual grass species of poor forage value, therefore grazing conditions depict signs of deterioration due to excessive heat and dry spells that were experienced during the months of January and March 2023.

The release says the fair rangeland conditions have also been affected by wildland fires due to high biomass. Thus, the available grazing will not sustain the livestock until the next rainfall season.

As such, farmers are therefore encouraged to supplement and consider selling ready for market livestock while moderate drought is anticipated for the livestock sector.

The media release further reveals that the area planted during the current season is lower than the previous two seasons, showing a 29 per cent reduction from the 2021/2022 season owing to climatic conditions that prevailed during the 2022/23 season, adversely affecting crop production resulting in a severe arable agricultural drought. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : Press Release

Date : 26 Jul 2023