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Drought accelerates charcoal production in Outjo

todayJuly 3, 2024 5

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The Kunene Region has been heavily affected by drought, prompting farmers in the Outjo Constituency to diversify their income through the production of charcoal.

Following a decade of poor rains and failed harvests, as well as livestock losses due to the drought, most commercial farmers in the constituency are facing dire consequences, with some affected residents relying on the government feeding programme for survival and others converting to charcoal manufacturing, Outjo Constituency councillor Johannes Antsino said in an interview on Tuesday.

According to Antsino, most Outjo farmers rely on rain-fed farming, which makes their livelihoods highly vulnerable to worsening climate conditions.

“As a result, some farmers have diversified their incomes by producing charcoal as a means of paying off their farms and maintaining their livelihoods,” he said.

According to Antsino, charcoal production is prospering in the surroundings, with recent reports indicating that there has been a major increase in output in the Outjo area over the last few months.

In the context of livestock loss as a result of drought, Antsino was unable to quantify the exact amount, but indicated that scores of livestock have perished, impacting residents’ livelihoods and placing more than 4 000 people at the mercy of the government food programme in the Outjo Constituency.

He continued to say that despite the programme not reaching a large number of people, it is still beneficial.

He also praised the Food Voucher Programme, launched last year to replace the drought relief programme, saying it will assist the government in overcoming gaps and deficiencies in existing social safety nets, particularly cooperation.

Using vouchers saves on expenses associated with food supply, storage and delivery, while also strengthening support for local economies in various regions, Antsino said.

The councillor also stated that there are ongoing programmes to educate farmers on new integrated agricultural methods during droughts, but despite their desire, there is still a lack of groundwater.



Written by: Staff Writer

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