Hundreds of Namibian communal farmers who seasonally cross the border into Angola in search of pastures for their livestock have been asked to leave and apply for permits as Angola clamps down on illegal cattle herders in their country.

Changing weather patterns attributed to global warming are causing a decline in pastoral land, which is affecting cross-border migration of farmers.

Immanuel Nangolo has a herd of 300 cattle and, when pastures are not green in Namibia, he makes his way north to Angola to feed his hungry livestock. With the new restrictions introduced by the Angolan government, he cannot move as freely as he did in the past.

Nangola said that grazing land in Angola is “sufficient and free,” while in Namibia, fenced land makes it difficult for cattle to graze freely.

Walde Ndevashiya, governor of the Ohangewna region in northern Namibia, which borders Angola on the north, said Namibian communal farmers have been allowed to graze their cattle in Angola. But now some have started building permanent structures such as fences and buildings, which is not allowed.

“There are those who go there, then they settle … there on [a] long-term basis, which will not allow for the grass to be replenished again,” Ndevashiya said.

Namibia has dispatched its minister of international relations and cooperation, Netumbo Ndaitwah, to find a solution to the problem with her counterpart in Angola, Tete Antonoi, the minister of external relations.

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