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Drought causes despondency among farmers

2018-12-20  Nuusita Ashipala

Drought causes despondency among farmers

Nuusita Ashipala

ONGWEDIVA - Farmers have expressed concern should there be no rain or insufficient rain over the next two weeks, the country could experience another debilitating drought.

Reports especially that of livestock dying have already been trickling in from areas such as Omaheke and some parts of Erongo, this was revealed by Jason Emvula the president of the Namibian National Farmers Union (NNFU). The onset of the rain season is usually from late September until March/April but this season the dry spell and very hot scorching conditions have affected most parts of the country.

In addition, concerned Namibian crop farmers have also not been able to till their land as a result of the absence of rain.
The National Broadcaster NBC recently reported that farmers in Epukiro are pleading for assistance

 from the government as the drought takes its toll on their livestock in the area.
The seasonal rainfall outlook update for 2019 as produced by the Meteorological Service in the Ministry of Works and Transport predicts 25 percent above normal rainfall, 40 percent normal rainfall and 25 percent below normal rainfall between January to March.

For February to April next year, it is predicted the northeast, central and northwest regions will have the same rainfall patterns predicted for January to March.

However, there is change in rainfall patterns predicted for the entire southern region.
The outlook predicts that there will be a probability of 40 percent below rainfall in the south. It is further predicted that there is likely only to be 35 percent of normal rainfall and 25 percent of above rainfall for the months in question in the southern region.

Given the prevailing circumstances, Emvula has appealed to crop and livestock farmers not to lose hope. He pleaded with the nation at large to come to the rescue of struggling farmers whose livelihood is farming.

“Our farmers are struggling, yet again we cannot allow them to watch their livestock to die, we need to assist them, hence we call on individuals, the business people and the community at large,” Emvula said during the interview with New Era. The unionist said the situation is devastating as there is currently no market for the farmers to trade their livestock, leaving them to watch them die.

He thus appealed for Oshakati, Katima Mulilo and Rundu abattoirs to be re-opened in order to avert the problem.
“It is terrifying because the farmers cannot do anything to save their livestock, the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) have been without a market for the past five years. We need the abattoirs to take up some livestock, else they would die leaving them without anything,” said Emvula.

In addition to the heat wave, Emvula said the union will attempt to educate farmers to become climate change resilient so that they use crops that require less moisture.

“We are going to host workshops and information sharing days on climate change, particularly its severe consequences on the farmers.” 

2018-12-20  Nuusita Ashipala

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