Residents of northern Namibia are rejoicing over the first raindrops that fell since last weekend. The rain brings hope to farmers who delayed ploughing their fields.
Traditionally, by this time farmers would be working in their crop fields but late rain delayed them. The rains are expected to persist this week in the northern parts of the country, weather forecaster at the Namibian Meteorological Services Odilo Kgobetsi said. Following heavy rains in the last five days, many floodplains are already filled to the brim. “The rain is expected to continue for the next few days,” Kgobetsi said.
Kgobetsi said the rains are expected today with the moisture expected to stretch into Friday. Uuvudhiya constituency councillor Timoteus Shivute said the rains are a relief for many farmers.
“Now we have hope. I am sure if it rains again, there will be no more fear of drought,” he noted. Asteria Akuuno from Epya Eshona village in Okatana constituency told New Era there is hope to plough this season, although the rain came late.
She said she couldn’t wait for any longer after the first raindrops as she has been waiting for the rain. “This is the time we are supposed to be hoeing and eating our traditional spinach, but we are still at the early stage, we just started with sowing Wednesday,” she said.
She added that she is informed that most of the towns and villages in the north also received showers.
The grandchildren of Simon Shitenge from Othingo village, Johanna Temus and Lukas Simon were also woken up at 05h00 on Wednesday to till their grandparents’ mahangu field.
After almost five hours of tilling and having worked on a large portion of land, they decided to call it a day and postpone the work 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.
“The rain brought a little sense of relief,” said Nangula Thomas from Uukwangula village.
“Thank God; it is finally raining. This shows the Almighty has not forgotten us,” said Thomas.
Many farmers were spotted removing unwanted objects and tree branches to prepare the crop fields for the 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 to get grass and water. Many parts are now observed to have rainwater and feed growing, especially in the vicinity of areas with water. Maria Shikongo from Ohangwena region said she is optimistic about this year’s harvest. She said although rain comes and goes, she has hope this year will be much better than last year. “Good rains have instilled a sense of hope for most farmers in our region. We received very good rainfall recently,” she said.
Farmers are also concerned that should the rainy season be short-lived, their seedlings will die; the ploughed land might dry up, putting added strain on the farmers to re-plough.
With the rains that fell over the past two days in some regions, communal farmers have thought of ploughing, although some are worried that the rain will not last and that their crops could die if the rain is not consistent over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Hilma Petrus from Oshikuku said the rain received at the moment cannot yet make an impact.
“It has rained but it won’t make an impact; we hope it will continue for a little longer,” said Petrus. She further said the water currently flowing in the streams and rivers in the region is a bonus because the region does not have a water crisis. Although there are still some who did not start working on their crop fields, some said they are waiting for February to end.
“Good rain for farming comes after February,” one of the farmers said.