ONGWEDIVA - Following heavy rainfall over the weekend, drought-hit communal farmers in the villages surrounding Ongwediva have already started tilling their communal fields.
One such farmer is Maria Mushimba, who, together with her grandchildren were seen tilling their crop field by hand and, thereafter, plant their crops in hope to harvest this year.
Mushimba, who did not harvest anything last year because of drought, said she is eager to start preparing her field earlier this year.
“Last year, we tilled with a tractor; however, we were not able to harvest anything,” said Mushimba in reference to the drought. At the moment, Mushimba buys mahangu grains from the open market at Ongwediva to sustain her family.
Her neighbours’ children Jonathan Ndalonganawa and Ruben Namholo were also woken up at 05h00 on Monday to till their parents’ mahangu crop field.
After almost five hours of tilting and having worked on a large portion of land, the boys decided to call it a day and postpone the planting to the next day.
The ploughed area still requires to be planted before the next rain, so that the planted crops can sprout with ease.
In addition to those who have already started preparing their fields, some other people around Ongwediva were spreading livestock manure across their crop fields.
It is common practice in the northern areas to take manure from the goats and cattle kraal into their crop fields.
Many farmers were spotted removing unwanted objects and tree branches to prepare the crop fields for the next season.
The farmers were content with the onset of the rains, hoping for a better harvest this year because of overcast and rainy conditions. They said the rains, thus far, are quite a relief, particularly to the livestock that have been struggling for grass and water. Many parts are now observed to have rain water and feed growing, especially in the vicinity of areas with water.
Thousands of communal farmers, following the persistent drought, rely on the government drought relief programme to put food on the table.
As a result, some families were also forced to ration their meals to ensure their food lasts longer.
Namibia has faced recurrent droughts and a failed crop for the past four years in a row, depleting its water sources, while villagers had to rely on drought relief food from government.
New Era reported in October that N$131 million has already been spent to aid drought-affected families.
By October this year alone, it was reported the drought claimed over 60 000 livestock and there have been fears the reservoirs supplying Windhoek could run dry if it does not rain.