KATIMA MULILO - Some communal farmers in eastern Zambezi, in the Kabbe South Constituency have had a good harvest, despite the prevailing drought.
Previously farmers in flood-prone Kabbe South used to plough their fields in September so that by January they were already harvesting before the floods.
However due to climate change, which has seen rains come late, some farmers in those areas have put to bed any activities related to ploughing.
They reasoned if they ploughed in December when it starts raining their crops could be flooded before it reach maturity.
However, some farmers like former Kabbe Constituency councilor Raphael Mbala from Jimu village in Ikaba have not given up.
Speaking to New Era the gracefully retired Mbala stated that together with his family they started planting in late October and finished late November.
Mbala stated that they planted 16 hectares and when the first rains came in November, the maize stem was already tall and helped it to grow. “When we started planting some people were mocking us that we are wasting our energy as it was late and our maize will be destroyed by flood waters, but we never gave up we continued to plough, and luckily the flood came late and we managed to harvest all our fields,” said Mbala.
He also said when the floodwaters were fast approaching towards the end of January, they stated blocking the streams which lead to their fields and this gave their maize crop extra weeks to reach full maturity.
“We managed to harvest all our fields, and the last one-hectare field we harvested on Monday, and we even came to sell some fresh maize in town. I am confident from what we harvested we will have 40-60 bags,” he said.
He said some of the challenges they faced was the unavailability of government tractors, and in addition, of ploughing with oxen, they had to hire private tractors, which he said are a bit expensive, as the charge of N$1000 per hectare is expensive.
Mbala also said another challenge was that some cattle in the area were without herders, and they nearly destroyed their fields.
“Our fields were nearly destroyed by cattle until we involved the police, to put law and order. Some cattle herders were arrested, from there on they started herding their cattle,” explained the retired educationalist.
Mbala further advised farmers from the flood prone areas to get with the climate change. “I have learnt that it best to plant early maturity maize which you can harvest within three months,” he said.
He also explains that it is easier for the maize to grow in flood prone areas, as at the time of ploughing the ground is still wet after the floodwaters have gone down.
2019-03-07 08:59:58 4 months ago