Namibia: Northern Farmers Anxious About Absence of Rain

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(File photo).
19 February 2019

COMMUNAL farmers at Oshakati west and Okatana constituencies in Oshana region have a thriving mahangu crop but there are fears that this crop might wither because of drought and extreme heat.

When The Namibian visited Oniimwandi, Onashiku, Otuwala and Othingo villages, mahangu crops looked good with some having reached maturity.

But, the absence of rain and the scorching heat have raised anxiety among the villagers. In early January, these constituencies - about 3km-5km west of Oshakati - received some good rains but this was followed by a dry spell which led to many flood-plains (oshanas), swamps and lakes drying up.

"We have thriving crops but there is no rain. Namibia does not get good rainfall," said Junias Paskalis, from Otuwala village.

He said their cattle are also suffering due to lack of pastures because of the drought.

"Oshanas have dried up and some village headmen have sold land which used to be grazing areas and now we do not have enough grazing areas. They just want money, which does not even reach the Uukwambi Traditional Authority," he said angrily.

Paskalis said some people were drawing water from wells for their livestock.

"We have already reached 15 February, and by this time last year we were already eating fresh green beans and most mahangu crops had reached maturity. But not this year. I think people must pray for the rain," he added.

The regional councillor for Oshakati west, Johanness Mpinge, advised farmers not lose hope as in the past rain has come around 25 February.

"The rain will come in February. This has happened in the past," he said.

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