Farmers urged to plant after good rains

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

REGIONAL governors for the northern regions are calling on farmers in their regions to work hard before the end of the rainy season so that they will not need to rely on government for food.

In an interview with Confidente this week, Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa said farmers in the four O regions should play their part to ensure a successful agricultural season. He implored farmers to shift their mindset towards production and urged unemployed youth in urban and semi-urban areas to go back home and help their parents.

“Those who are unemployed in urban areas should go back home and work to fight hunger. Some of them are the ones blaming government that it is not doing anything, but if they are at home cultivating, the drought situation will come to an end. Some of them are in Oshakati, Ongwediva, Outapi and Ondangwa drinking beers and gambling, they should go and cultivate,” the governor remarked.

He advised that farmers should adequately prepare for the rainy season, adding that there is prospect of a good harvest this year.

Oshikoto Governor Henock Kankoshi said farmers should avoid spending time at shebeens during working hours. “The rain alone is not enough. People should cultivate their lands and look after their animals to ensure a successful agricultural season. This year the sky is promising,” he encouraged.

Oshana Governor Elia Irimari also said farmers should put shoulder to the wheel in readiness for work that is demanded of them. He added that farmers seriously need to cultivate their mahangu fields so that God recognizes and rewards their work.

The four northern regions had been severely drought stricken and some farmers recorded zero harvest last year, forcing many to rely on drought relief food from the government, although this was often not enough to stave off hunger.

Confidente reported last year that the drought threatened the livelihood of 700 000 Namibians who had become food insecure. Irimari said at the time that about 15,367 households had been affected, numbering around 74,001 persons.

Although Namibia has experienced recurrent drought (and even floods) in the last few years, the failure of the 2018/2019 rainy season had been particularly devastating. A report by African Development Bank of August 2019 said Namibia had experienced its driest rainfall season in 38 years.

The drought resulted in diminished crop production, estimated to be 42 percent below average in many areas. Governor Endjala said the Omusati region produced zero harvest in its 12 constituencies last year. Recurrent drought in a country that already suffers from water scarcity has also put the security of water supply for agriculture (crop and livestock), as well as for domestic and industrial purposes, at risk.

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