President Ian Khama has declared that the whole country is drought stricken and that the following relief measures and actions be adopted for the period 1st July 2015 to 30th June 2016.
Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning pays 85 percent of the 2014/15 seasonal loans to farmers eligible under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) who secured their loans through Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and National Development Bank (NDB). Also the Ministry of Agriculture provides a 25 percent subsidy to farmers on the following items purchased through the Livestock Advisory Centres (LACs) and Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board for the following interventions.
Government has revealed that there was a significant decline in the rainfall distribution as a result of the scorching heat wave resulting in low hectorage ploughed.
The yield forecast for 2014/15 has drastically declined with the national estimated production for cereals standing at 7 382 metric tons (mt) which is 3 percent of the national cereal requirement of 300 000mt.
Following the drought and household food security outlook conducted from the 23rd March to 10th April 2015, findings of the assessment indicate that the available water will not sustain livestock until the next rainy season as a result of the poor rainfall received and the dry spell experienced.
“Water levels were observed to be relatively low in catchment areas for the Okavango, Chobe-Zambezi, Ngotwane, and Limpopo rivers, as compared to the year 2013/2014. This has resulted in reduced inflows into the dams and recharge into well-fields,” reads the statement.??The outlook further indicated that overall, nutrition status of children aged 0 – 59 months is improving across the health districts. However, malnutrition levels in some areas are still higher than the 3 percent national target for total malnutrition. Furthermore, although most districts received normal to below normal rainfall, there is abundance of biomass produced in the year 2013/14.
Also high number of fire outbreaks is anticipated.??“The Ministry of Minerals Energy and Water Resources is to provide funds for emergency water supply projects to augment the human current water supply situation,” reads the statement.??Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) is expected to utilise funds available from its current budget for┬á construction and maintenance of firebreaks in Kgalagadi, Ghanzi, Kweneng, Ngamiland and Central Districts as well as, maintenance of fences at Dithopo Game Ranch, Kalahari Trans Frontier Park, Khutse Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Tuli Backline and further that the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning and Environment, Wildlife and Tourism avail funds for procurement of trucks to be used in veldt fire management and control.