Albertina Nakale WINDHOEK - The early floods experienced this year have destroyed unharvested rice fields worth more than N$500 000 at the Kalimbeza Rice Project in Zambezi Region. Kalimbeza farm manager, Patrick Kompeli, who is also the agricultural research technician in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry confirmed the financial losses experienced due to heavy deluge that flooded fields planted with three rice varieties. The rice farm in the Zambezi Region around March experienced heavy floods after the recent heavy rains, forcing the project to resort to manual harvesting as mechanical harvesters cannot be used in water and mud. He said that this year’s flood was very high and the project lost 10 hectares of Irga rice (medium grain), 8 hectares of Basmati rice and 11 hectares of Supa rice (long grain). Kompeli revealed that out of the rice varieties lost, the farm had planted about 50 hectares of Supa rice, which could not be harvested and has translated into a loss of N$227 700. The Irga rice was planted on 48 hectares, and the loss of unharvested crop is estimated at N$138 888, while the loss of 10 hectares of basmati rice amounted to N$165 600. The three loses translate into a total of N$532 188 of lost produce. However, he was quick to say the long grain was ready for harvesting during the flood and harvesting was delayed as it was done manually. For the 2018/19 financial year, government allocated an amount of N$4.2 million for the Kalimbeza Rice farm. Regarding drought experienced over the past three years countrywide, Kompeli said the project is not affected by drought since it is an irrigation project, as it does not rely on rainwater. He noted that over the past three years, production has been steady but affected by the number of issues such as high number of birds and recently by the floods. Asked on some of the planned activities for this year at the project, he mentioned the development of the new area for vegetable production, repairing of the damaged fence and construction of the drying slab and of course increase the hectares for long grain rice. On some of the major challenges that project faces which hampers its full production as mandated by government, he said the main problems are birds, weeds, uneven land surface that makes irrigation difficult and huge electrical bills. Over the past couple of years, the issue of elephants destroying the fence has been reported as rampant. However, Kompeli said the elephants are no longer destroying the fence.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-01 09:28:40 6 months ago