Namibia: Otjombinde Farmers Welcome Rain Relief

26 November 2019

Windhoek — Otjombinde farmers have breathed a collective sigh of relief as much-needed showers poured down earlier last week, after one of the driest Novembers in the past decade.

Otjombinde is situated in the Otjombinde Constituency in the Omaheke Region.

Last week, farmers in villages such Klepaar, Otjijere, Kaoveni, Okauarongo and Zekelaar said they recorded between 80millimetres (mm) to 110 mm of rainfall in 72 hours between Monday and Wednesday last week.

Otjombinde constituency councillor Katjanaa Kaurivi confirmed this, saying he recorded a total of around 50mm of rain at his homestead during the cause of three days, adding that the rain had come as a godsend after an unseasonably dry weather.

"It is a sigh of relief for many of us (farmers) - and even though some of the farmers have lost livestock due to heavy rain, we still welcome the rain," said Kaurivi.

Several agricultural analysts have described the current drought in the country as the worst in recent times, with the farming and cropping regions of Kunene, Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto being the hardest-hit.

President Hage Geingob earlier this year declared the drought a state of emergency, which according to reports has killed over 60 000 livestock across the country.

A total of 259 wild animals kept in a special camp at the Ogongo Campus of the University of Namibia in Omusati Region were also reported to have starved to death because of the drought.

Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) in August predicted that Namibia is among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries expected to receive high rainfall.

Other SADC countries, according to SARCOF include Madagascar, Mauritius, central and southern Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Northern Tanzania, most of Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The SARCOF forecast is divided in two parts, covering October, November-December (OND) 2019 and January, February-March (JFM) 2020.

The forecast shows most of the SADC region is likely to receive high rainfall, termed 'normal to above-normal' rainfall between October and December 2019, although the forecast does not specify that the rainfall will be evenly spread in time or place, and it could indicate flooding.

Areas likely to receive normal-to-above-normal rainfall in the last quarter of 2019 are the south-eastern half, easternmost and south-western parts of Angola, Botswana, northern and southernmost parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), eSwatini, Lesotho and southern Malawi.

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