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Worried farmers look to the skies

2022-12-12  Victoria Kaapanda

Worried farmers look to the skies

Victoria Kaapanda

ONGWEDIVA – Subsistence farmers in the north continue to wait anxiously for much-needed rainfall. Memories of the drought that occurred three years ago are still fresh in the minds of farmers, and some think of it mainly as the devastating drought of 2013, which has left deep scars.

The drought of 2013 was considered as one of the country’s worst dry spells in three decades. Another drought spell hit Namibia in 2019, less than five years since the 2013 drought. In early December last year, the northern regions received some good rains, but this was followed by a dry spell, which led to many floodplains (oshanas), swamps and lakes drying up.

However, by the end of October this year, the Namibia Meteorological Service predicted normal to above-normal rainfall in the country for the first part of the season in October, November and December.

While normal to below-normal rainfall is predicted for the second part of the rainy season from January to March 2021, this prediction is yet to be realised as the second week of December approaches. Kaino Shiyagaya from Okando village in Omusati region said her village received no rain at all and villagers are starting to lose hope as days pass.

“In previous years, we would already be eating fresh omboga (wild spinach), but we have nothing. We need to pray for the rain,” she added. When New Era visited the Uukwangula Oniimwandi, Onashiku, Otuwala and Othingo villages, many people did not plough at all, as the land is too dry.

In an interview with New Era, Esther Shilongo from Ohakweenyanga village said their cattle are also suffering due to a lack of pastures. “Oshanas have dried up, and we do not have enough grazing areas,” she said. She added that in recent years, Namibia experienced severe droughts, and many communal farmers lost livestock as a result.

“I am not saying the rain is not coming, but it is getting late. We put everything in God’s hand,” she stated. Kuku Selma Nashiko, an elderly from Ekulo village in Oshikoto region explained that in the olden days, communities entrusted certain people with “summoning” rain from Evale in Angola during drought.

“That was back then when I was young. My grandmother used to go get the rain, too bad I did not inherit that spirit. So, I am not sure if this is still happening in Namibia, but I am sure in Angola they still do that,” she explained.

2022-12-12  Victoria Kaapanda

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