6 March 2018

Namibia: Weekend Rain Brings Relief to Northern Farmers

SHOWERS that hit the northern regions over the weekend left farmers optimistic about the recovery of crops and an eventual good harvest, if it continues raining until the end of the month.

Farmers across the north said earlier that they had lost hope of a good harvest after it did not rain for a month. But after the weekend's showers, they are optimistic. Some farmers told The Namibian last weekend that the recent showers received across the north have brought them joy.

"It is a blessing to receive these showers at this time. If it did not rain, I wonder what would have happened," said farmer Selma Samwel from the Omuhozi village of Oniipa in Oshikoto. She was speaking from her field, where about 70% of her mahangu crop had wilted due to the lack of rain.

Samwel stressed that the dry spell during the month of February totally destroyed her crops, and she did not have any hope of getting a good harvest. Nonetheless, the showers which fell over the weekend had revived her hopes.

"Although most mahangu crops have wilted, those that were left might recover, thanks to the recent showers," she added. Samwel indicated that although she had seen severe droughts in her life, the February dry spell worried her quite a lot. But she is still optimistic.

Omusati farmer Secilia Saulus of Oneeya in the Okalongo constituency also welcomed the recent rain. However, in sharp contrast to Samwel's predicament, she did not experience the wilting of crops.

"We are all happy that the rain is here. We were lucky here not to suffer like other farmers from other areas. But if it did not rain for some time, we could have suffered too," she stated, while standing in her lush green mahangu field.

Saulus told The Namibian that she always ploughs in November or December, but this year she ploughed at the beginning of January due to the delayed rains. These two farmers also expressed concern about the changing weather patters that impact agricultural activities, something that could be attributable to climate change.

"During our youth and the years that followed, people could even plough in October, and mahangu would be mature by January. Now, we do not know what is going on," Samwel said.

Saulus agreed. "If things continue this way, the future will be bleak one day."


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