Oshakati — Namibia can expect above average to normal rainfall in 2013, according to weather forecasters.
This is the view of Leonard Hango of the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF).
Based on the predictions, the region stands a 35-40 percent chance of receiving above average to normal rainfall during the months of January to April, according to him.
The good prospects will continue throughout the rainy season, which ends in May. Other countries in the Southern African region that are expected to receive good rains include northern Mozambique, southern Tanzania, northern Malawi, northern and western Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), southern Angola, western Botswana, central and western South Africa and the western part of Lesotho.
Prospects for rain for the bigger part of the DRC and northern Angola do not look too good however, since they have an increased chance of receiving normal to below-normal rainfall according to SARCOF. Meanwhile, ploughing in the northern parts of Namibia is already underway with a few farmers already engaged in weeding.
A number of them are however not happy with the constant shortage of government tractors, and private tractors that are too expensive. Prices for privately owned tractors are not regulated. Government tractors cost N$150 per hectare, while privately owned tractors cost up to N$400 per hour.
"Government tractors do not only plough but they can also sow the seeds provided that the person is ready to pay N$300, which is still cheaper than privately owned tractors," according to Oshakati East Councillor Lotto Kuushomwa.
The Oshana Region has only 10 government tractors, one in each constituency. This is a serious constraint since at times tractors can break down and leave the whole constituency without a tractor to plough the fields of subsistence farmers.
Apart from tractors, Kuushomwa said, a number of subsidised government services needed for ploughing are available at rural development centres in all constituencies in the Oshana Region.
"Mahangu seeds cost only N$9 per kilogramme at rural development centres, while it can cost up to N$22 per kilogramme at privately-owned outlets. Other services offered include fertilizers and varieties of seeds such as sorghum and kashana No.2 (type of mahangu) among others," said Kuushomwa.