Eking out a living through subsistence farming

18 January 2021 | Agriculture

Kenya Kambowe



KAYIRAIRA

To sustain her family of nine, a 51-year-old unemployed woman from Kayiryira village in the Kavango West Region still uses traditional farming methods to plough her field.

At the weekend, Victoria Kaundu narrated her struggles as she patrolled her mahangu field, which is under attack by locusts, birds and cattle.

She said due to money woes she cannot afford to pay villagers - who charge around N$150 - to plough her field using their cattle. A government subsidised tractor is more expensive, at N$250 per hectare.

Kaundu lives with her children and grandchild at Kasote, while her field is at Kayiryira.

While other subsistence farmers are still ploughing, Kaundu will soon harvest hers.

Head start

She told Namibian Sun that she started clearing her field last October after the first rains.

“I had to start as early as possible to clear my field because I don’t have the money to pay for someone to come and plough my field with either cattle or a tractor,” Kaundu said.

“This is the way I have been doing it for years. There’s no one to assist me. I’ve got only my two bare hands and they are helping me to work for my family,” she said.

Her harvest is only for consumption as she is not a beneficiary of the government drought aid, she said.

Help needed

Following last year’s poor rains, Kaundu only managed to harvest three 50-kilogram bags of mahangu; however, she is hopeful that with the current good rains, she will harvest more next year.

Beyond struggling to afford to plough her field, she is also finding it difficult to cater to the needs of her children as a single, unemployed mother.

She called on the public to assist her with clothes, food, beds and blankets.

[email protected]

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