President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi has declared 2018/19 a drought year. The declaration follows consideration of the Drought and Household Food Security Assessment and Analysis Report.

The assessment indicated that the 2018/19 rainfall season was characterised by rains which were poor both in space and time over most parts of the country during the first half of the season. Some districts did not even receive their onsets. The unevenly distributed rains, heat waves and dry spells that prevailed throughout the season resulted in lower hectarage planted and crop failure. Livestock condition has decreased from good to fair and the condition is expected to deteriorate further looking at the current grazing and water situations. Furthermore, indications are that, livelihoods of a significant number of rural households remain vulnerable and thus the need for Government’s intervention.

In view of these conditions, 2018/19 has been declared a drought year. According to government the following relief measures, actions and assistance will be implemented with effect from 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020:

The Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security is going to restock the Strategic Grain Reserve to augment the 98% estimated cereal deficit and increase current livestock drought subsidy for feeds (inclusive of high energy feeds for mature animals and protein feeds for young ones), vaccines and drugs from 25% to 35% and the subsidy be extended to cover dairy cattle, small-scale piggery and poultry farmers.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will also pay 85% of loans to farmers who got seasonal loans from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and National Development Bank (NDB) through the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS).

In response, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue the implementation of direct feeding in health facilities (clinics and health posts) presenting with high rates of total underweight (10% and above), and introduce a special food basket to children at all mobile stops in deserving districts presenting high rates of total underweight (10% and above).

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will provide supplementary feeding in all primary schools and single supplementary feeding ration for children aged 6-59 months with normal nutritional status while moderately and severely underweight children aged 6-59 months will get double supplementary feeding ration.

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will also continue with the implementation of urgent basic food relief packages to deserving residents of North East, Mabutsane, North West, Okavango and Kgalagadi – BORAVAST.