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Food insecurity threatens farmers at Etunda

2019-01-30  Helvy Shaanika

Food insecurity threatens farmers at Etunda

ETUNDA - Farmers at Etunda village, south of Epalela in Omusati Region, fear that if it fails to rain many households will suffer food insecurity and many people, mostly the youth, will lose their income. 
Normally households situated alongside Etaka dam, a man-made dam which supplies Etunda village with water throughout the year, are food secure. 

Among the farms alongside Etaka dam is the Nakayale Private Academy and Agricultural Project, a farm managed by two women, Marlize Erasmus and Martina Makuwa fondly known by her community as meme Makuwa. 
Makuwa and Erasmus have been managing this farm over the past three years. 

The farm has so far employed five full-time workers, while close to 80 workers are employed as casual labourers who depend on the farm as their source of income for them and their families. 

The farm supplies fresh produce to a number of grocery shops in the north as well as in Windhoek. 
It is also the benefactor of Nakayale Private Academy Primary School in Outapi that provides free education for orphans and vulnerable children. The school caters for all the educational needs of the children including books, food and accommodation, among others. 

But this close to 30 hectares of farmland together with other equal, bigger and smaller farmers in the area are greatly threatened by the current rain situation as the area has only received less than 100mm of rain since December. 
Farmers are fearful the debilitating drought of 2017 is likely to repeat itself this year.

The water level at Etaka dam is gradually going down. The water is normally pumped into the dam by NamWater from the canal during the dry season, and gets filled up by rainwater during the rainy season.
It is however more worrisome as the NamWater canal is supplied with water from Calueque dam in Angola where the area’s weather conditions are similar to Namibia’s. 

Last week the hydrologist in the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, Leonard Hango, predicted that Namibia and the rest of Southern Africa will receive medium to low rainfall in 2019. 

This is due to the El Niño condition which is known for being responsible for prolonged dry spells. 
“Medium to low prediction means that some people will get enough rain, while some will get very little. But rain in the Southern Hemisphere is sporadic, it is difficult to tell which area will receive enough rain and which one will get less,” said Hango earlier. 

Erasmus however fears if it fails to rain the farm will lose a lot and many families in the area will be affected.
“Almost everyone in the area has livestock and families have their small gardens. So poverty is not really common but if we don’t get rain then there is going to be trouble,” she said.

“Like in our case, the money that we spent on labour will go to waste. But we are hopeful. We will take one day at a time,” she said. 


2019-01-30  Helvy Shaanika

Tags: Omusati
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