12 February 2018

Namibia: Northern Farmers Optimistic of Good Harvest

Some farmers in the north are optimistic that they will get a good harvest this year compared to last year.

Several farmers who spoke to The Namibian said although the rains came a little late, many people are most likely going to get a good harvest.

"If you look at most fields, the crop (mahangu) is in good shape. If the rains continue until the end of March, many people are going to have a good harvest," said farmer Patrick Munyala from Okathitukonkayi in Omusati.

Munyala ploughed his field in December and has just finished weeding.

"We are done already with weeding, and we will only start over again for the last time when it rains and new weeds grow again," he said. Another farmer who expressed optimism is Naftal Nghiyalwa of Ongha in Ohangwena. Although he only started ploughing at the end of last month, Nghiyalwa stressed that the good rains the region received in the past two weeks are an indication that it will continue raining up to next month, and probably until April.

"In our culture, we have a belief that no matter how small or big somebody's crops are, if it continues to rain, they shall eat. So, it is like that with me. There will be a good a harvest this year," he enthused.

Nghiyalwa observed that he initially only wanted to plough four of his five-hectare field, fearing there might not be enough rainfall. But he then quickly changed his mind two weeks ago.

"I thought I would waste money to plough the whole field, but recent showers gave me hope. If it continues like this, no one will speak of hunger this year, unless they did not work," he said.

However, not all farmers are satisfied with the recent rains and the predictions of a bumper harvest. Farmer and Uukwyuushona councillor Andreas Amundjindi said his constituency is yet to receive good rains, and that he forecasts a drought if no good rains are received in the coming weeks.

"Some people from other areas say this year will be better than last year, but I believe it could be worse," he stressed. "If you look at it, by this time last year people had planted crops. But this year, some only just started ploughing, and others are still busy. There is also no water in the oshanas [floodplains]," he noted. Amundjindi remains optimistic, nonetheless, that if it rains in the coming days, people in his constituency will somehow still have a better harvest.

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