Some constituency inhabitants are temporary employed at various infrastructural developmental projects taking place in the constituency just to list few, road construction, housing construction, conservancies’ projects, farmers associations among others. However, the main source of income comes from farming activities, education and police sector employed significant number of people. The highest main sources of income in the constituency are farming (33%), wages and cash (27%) and pension (19%) (NSA 2012). Unemployment in the constituency was at 47% in 2011 compared to 52% in 2001.
The constituency is mainly dominated by livestock farming particularly cattle production by both commercial and communal farmers while small stock production (i.e. goats and sheep), as well as pigs and poultry production also takes place on a significant scale. In terms of crop production, maize production dominates this sub-sector, while increasingly horticultural production is gaining importance in the region.
Besides agriculture, various tourism routes transit the constituency, i.e. from Gobabis to Etosha National Park via the constituency, or from Northwestern tourism frontier, Kavango and Caprivi. Also, current road construction linking trans-Caprivi and Kalahari highways offers opportunities for increased tourist traffic for the conservancies in the east of the constituency. There are four communal conservancies in Okakarara constituency namely, Okamatapati, Otjituoo, African Wild Dog and Ozonahi. These communal conservancies in the constituency cover a geographical area of 16,257km2 representing about 12,800 inhabitants. The main income sources for the communal conservancies are entrance fees for tourists, devil’s claw harvesting and sales, craft shop (local sales of crafts produced by locals), film production royalties, campsite for villages (mostly benefiting surrounding villagers.
Some smaller entrepreneurs earn their living through the selling of cakes, kapana meats, perfumes, tailoring, salon, tire repairs, tent and bag making, dry cleaning- laundry and hair salons just to mention a few.
Challenges facing the constituency
Okakarara constituency being predominantly into agricultural constituency, the constituency is faced with numerous challenges in this sector and development.
Challenges for improved livestock quality.
Livestock quality especially among communal farmers (including resettlement farmers) requires improvement, while current schemes such as Bull Scheme from MAWF has not achieved its intended purpose. Also, resources are generally lacking for skills development programmes.
Challenges for livestock marketing challenges for communal farmers.
Key problems included distances to marketing facilities (e.g. auction pens), the proximity to VCF and prevalence of poisonous plants for Gam farmers, prizing control by buyers of livestock, leadership challenges for communal farmers associations, bad infrastructure (e.g. access roads), and marketing facilities needing repair & upgrading.
Overstocking and resultant overgrazing of farm land.
Overcrowded and overgrazed communal areas, e.g. Okondjatu, Okakarara, Okamatapati, Coblenz, Okatjoruu including Okakarara proper.
Challenges for crop production
Key challenges include the absence of agro-products marketing hub in the region and close to production areas, the unsuitability of some areas for crop production due to water availability, and the fact that water currently flooding mines in the region (i.e. Kombat & Berg Auchas) are not utilized sufficiently for crop or horticultural production.
Challenges for water infrastructure for agricultural development.
Key problems identified include inadequate water points in all communal areas, and the underutilization of underground water abundance is some areas (i.e. in Okondjatu).
Challenges in terms of resettlement needs.
Resettlement needs of people with livestock in Okakarara not being addressed, lack of support to resettlement farmers, and the lack of control mechanism for resettlement land allocation.
Challenges related to road conditions and bad infrastructure.
Road conditions in some areas of the constituencies are bad for accessing services centres (e.g. settlements)
Challenges for financing agriculture development
Collateral requirements for communal farmers (100% security required) is limiting financing opportunities, while distances to banks is also presenting challenges to communal farmers.
Include lack of skills and knowledge among communal farmers (in the areas of vaccination and immunization of livestock, recordkeeping, pasture management and traceability issues), inadequate vaccination and immunizations, institutional challenges of farmers association, stock theft in the whole constituency, non-utilization of virgin land for agricultural development, lack of information sharing, bush encroachment problem in the constituency, absence of agro-processing industries, and waste dumping posing in urban areas posing a threat to underground water (e.g. in all proclaimed settlements ).