The first half of the 2018/2019-rainfall season noted an extremely poor rainfall performance, which subsequently caused considerable delayed in the cultivation activities. Despite the early and good rainfall showers received on the start of the rainfall season, end of October to early November, there were no follow up rains to strengthen the onset of the rainfall season. According to farmers, high temperatures, light showers and dry conditions have dominated the first half (October to December 2018) of the season. Productive rains were only received end of December to early January, but were reportedly still poor.
Grazing conditions were reported to have deteriorated in various parts of the country during the course of the prolonged dry season and were noted to range between fair and very poor. The situation is reported to have been exacerbated by the delayed rainy season as well as the general poor rainfall performance which is said to be dominating the season. The situation is noted to be more severe in the southern regions of the country where poor rainfall was experienced last season. The Aminuis constituency in the Omaheke region was reported to be the hardest hit and according to the Agricultural Extension officials, mortality due to malnutrition in the area is on the rise. Many areas in the country are reported to have only received their productive rainfall between ends of December to early January. Poor rainfall did not only impacted negatively on grazing, but also crop production and water resources.
In the north eastern part of the country (Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions) grazing was reported to range between fair and poor in many places. For the Zambezi region, grazing was reported to range between poor and fair in areas along the river and poor in the inland. Many farmers are reported to have moved their livestock to the river side for better grazing. In the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, grazing was reported to be poor along the river, but fair to good in the inland areas. It was further reported that, the incidences of veld fires in the inland has exacerbated the situation. Water availability for livestock was noted to be satisfactory through the rivers in areas along the rivers and boreholes in the inland areas.
For the North Central regions, grazing was reported to range between poor and fair. It was reported that, poor grazing condition is worsened by the delayed rainfall season. Farmers noted that, under normal circumstances, grazing was suppose to be recovering at the beginning of the rainfall season, normally early to mid November, but at the time of the assessment in mid December no significant rainfall have yet been received to rejuvenate grazing. In addition, water availability, particularly for livestock consumption was reported to be satisfactory in most areas with earth dam, pipeline, and canal and wells being the main sources. However water shortages were reported in the cattle post areas where many farmers took their livestock for better grazing.
Elsewhere in the country, poor to very critical grazing conditions were reported, particularly in the south (Hardap and //Karas), Erongo, Kunene and Omaheke regions. Drought condition in the south of Omaheke region (Aminius constituency) is still prevailing and is said to have spread to the central and northern part (Epukiro, Kalahari Gobabis, Otjombinde and Otjinene constituencies) where livestock mortality are reportedly being recorded on a daily basis. In the central part of the country (Khomas and Otjozondjupa region), grazing was reportedly ranging between very poor to poor conditions. In the Hardap region grazing was reported to be in poor state and some farmers are reported to have approached their Agriculture office and traditional authorities seeking permission by authority for temporary grazing areas. The situation was reported to be very critical in Karasburg, Berseba, Bethanie, Luderitz and Keetmanshop commercial areas in //Karas region and Aminuis in Omaheke region. Moreover, the grazing condition in Aroab area in //Karas region is very poor for bulk grazers and fair for browsers as most browse/shrubs have slightly reacted positively to the little rains received late December 2018 and early January 2019. In addition, most part of Communal area in Omaheke region was reported to be in critical situation except Eiseb Block where fair to good grazing conditions were reported.
Water availability for livestock continue to be a problem in some parts of the country due to late and poor rainfall received since the beginning of the rainfall season. Most communal farmers in Erongo, Omaheke and //Karas region are facing water scarcity as the boreholes yields continue to drop with some have dried up. The water situation in Hardap, Khomas and Kunene region was noted to be satisfactory as most boreholes still have water to sustain livestock. However, isolated complains of water shortages were reported in Halifax farm No. 113 in Hardap region. According to the Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer in the region, boreholes are yielding low and water from nearby borehole is unfit for both human and livestock consumption.