Drought's destructive force

25 April 2019 | Opinion

Times are really tough for both commercial and communal farmers. In fact, this silent disaster called drought has been wreaking havoc for several years now thanks to the spatial distribution of rainfall around the regions of our country. Many communal farmers have totally given up hope of any harvest after what can only be described as a brutal mid-season dry spell. In northern Namibia, for instance, the usual sight of lush green grass and mahangu crops has now turned to dust, while animals have been left with no pastures to graze in.

The latest Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report has added to the woes of farmers by painting a grim and horrible picture for local farmers. The report has predicted massive reductions for all crop-producing areas in the expected harvest season, including cereal production, driven largely by the poor rainfall in the last year. The report states that combined cereals such as maize, pearl millet and sorghum production shows that Namibia can expect a reduction in harvest of at least 53% of last season's harvest and over 42% below the average production.

Due to the prevailing drought conditions all major communal crop producing regions and commercial grain-fed cereal crop producers are expecting a massive reduction in the expected harvest, the report highlighted. This is a clear warning of dire food shortages. The damage has been done and the relenting heat wave, which has devastated crops, will continue wreaking havoc. It is against this background that we join the desperate farmers in calling on government to once and for all declare the drought situation a state of emergency, because what we are experiencing now is a terrible national disaster. Our people are reeling under acute drought and the authorities should adopt a proactive attitude and heed the call of struggling farmers, in order to mitigate the impacts caused by the dry-spell.

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