Namibia: Gardeners Ask for Help After Fire Losses

Two urban gardeners at Oshakati are appealing to the public to help them with seeds, manure, pesticides and irrigation systems after their vegetable garden was destroyed by fire on Wednesday afternoon.

Oshana police spokesperson inspector Thomas Aiyambo said it is suspected that the fire was caused by ministry of works employees who were working with an angle grinder.

One of the co-founders of the garden, Cornelius Shikongo, said the fire dealt a heavy blow to the gardeners.

The garden, situated behind Oshakati Police Station, is used to cultivate crops like spinach, maize, cabbage, onions and tomatoes.

Shikongo said: "Most of our things have been damaged - the pipes, drip lines and most of the crops."

He added that the gardeners have little hope that their crops will recover. Before the fire, they expected to harvest crops in November, he said.

"We have to reallocate the little budget we have to replace the damaged pipes," Shikongo said. New seeds and pesticides will also have to be obtained, he added.

"We are now appealing to Samaritans to help us with the little they have, especially with manure, pesticides, seeds and drip pipes," he said.

Fellow gardener Hendrina Temus added that they are in need of an irrigation system.

"I just want to urge government officials to clean their premises to avoid disasters such as this," Temus said.

She said the garden has three employees and five interns from Marco Mpollo Vocational Training Centre who are being trained in agriculture.

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