OMUTHIYA - There is an African proverb saying, “An environment must be suited to the age and men to their environment”.
Putting the proverb into practice, a group of 40 farmers from the Onyaanya Constituency in the Oshikoto Region, gathered to deliberate on new farming methods to survive the current drought.
The farmer’s information day under the theme, “conservation agriculture” was facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry as well as the Score project.
To ensure that farmers endure, it is necessary to adopt the concept of conservation agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines Conservation Agriculture as an innovative approach for improving resource use in sustainable production. It is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands.
The current farming season has not produced sufficient crops for human consumption. In addition, the farmers are also faced with not enough grazing for their livestock. These poor conditions are however not only caused by climate change in the form of low rainfall but also due to poor farming practices that have led to soil degradation.
These innovative practices include continuous minimum mechanical soil disturbance, permanent soil organic cover and species diversification.
According to Aron Hangula, the Score project coordinator, it is necessary to accept and adopt these new practices and technologies. He urged the farmers to remain optimistic despite the challenges.
“You will not succeed at the first try. Those who fail should take motivation from those who have succeeded. These new techniques have been adopted in neighbouring countries like Zambia. If Zambia can do it. So, can we.” says Hangula.
Velena Mashini, a farmer from the locality, took the participants on a tour of her field specifically at the area where she experimented with new ploughing tools to ensure minimum mechanical soil disturbance, “My field was selected for an experiment. I planted beans, corn and mahangu. I used different ploughing tools in order to establish which tools are most effective. With the ripper, my crop production has increased. There is a big difference because when using the ripper plough, despite low rainfall, we are still able to grow enough crops. I am impressed with the ripper.”
Councillor for Onyaanya Constituency in Oshikoto, Petrus Kampala has urged farmers in the area to adopt new practices in order to survive the severe drought that has been caused by climate change.
“I am attending this meeting because I am also a farmer. It is an important gathering. The founding father said that we should work the land for food. Times have changed, rain does not fall as much as it used to. Yes, we ask the government to build us dams, but with no rain, the dams will be empty. It is thus important to use water sparingly,” he encouraged.
He further added, “When you plough the land, do it not only for humans but also for the animals. The food for the people and the peels for the animals.”
He applauded the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry for the initiate and continued to urge the farmers to take part in these kind of initiatives and to provide the government officials with suggestions, “let us exchange information so that the officers leave with our challenges and return back to us with solutions.”
2019-05-03 10:37:28 2 months ago