OSHIFUKWA - A physically challenged subsistence mahangu farmer from Oshifukwa in Oshikoto Region says there is no prospects for a good harvest this cropping season because of lower than expected rains as many Namibian farmers still depend on rain-fed crop farming.
Gabriel Sheetekela is hopeless and disheartened by the sporadic rains that saw his crop like that of many rural farmers wilt from the excessive heat.
“Usually in April, the seeds would already have matured, but as it stands now the mahangu is only flowering. The rain has become very unreliable, thus a bleak future of a good harvest lies ahead of us,” stressed Sheetekela as he pointed at a partially cultivated field.
Mahangu is the family’s main source of livelihood. The unwavering pensioner, who lives with his wife and four school going grandchildren, says his only survival is now pinned on the monthly pension grant to be supplemented by little stored mahangu.
“I only ploughed a small portion due to uncertainties in rain. I first cultivated in December and no germination, then I had to replant in January. That is when some growth were experienced in patchy areas,” adds Sheetekela, whose legs had to be amputated from the hips from a bomb attack in August, 1989 that targeted him in the vicinity of Omungwelume.
“I don’t think the remaining mahangu will take us until December, it is going to be survival of the fittest going forward,” he stressed, adding he spent N$1600 to cultivate and part of the money went towards the hiring of a tractor.
Sheetekela is a strong and hard worker who himself does the wielding and harvesting, assisted by the wife and children. “I work my field every year, but this is a disappointing and unusual year,” he said while working his communal field. Sheetekela also faces the problem to get around his house because of an old wheelchair that is in a state of disrepair and he cannot afford a new wheelchair for now.
2019-04-05 12:09:44 4 months ago