Innovation is essential

18 February 2019 | Opinion

So yet another dismal season of dismal rainfall is upon us and soon coming to an end with no respite in sight.

That Namibia is a dry country is a given. Sporadic and sometimes lengthy droughts are part and parcel of our existence in this country.

But the weather has become more erratic of late – ask any Australian and they will tell you.

And we were warned, long ago, by all the climate change experts, that dry spells will become more common and intense, along with excessive and sporadic flooding.

We have seen these changes over the past few years.

That agriculture is a mainstay to our economy is a given. A job-intensive sector, we cannot do without it. Many of our agricultural practices however, are archaic.

We rely on rainfall for everything. A large part of the economy relies on a good rainy season.

We need to get with the programme. We need to find innovative ways of farming, of harvesting rainwater, of using our perennial rivers to their maximum to produce when they are flowing at good and healthy levels.

We need to up our game because at the moment, we are using what we can and neither are we preparing, in good years, for the bad years.

A national crisis is how the current agricultural situation looks. Food security in Namibia is scant, to say the least.

We plant when it has rained enough for our fields to be moist enough for the seeds to survive. If it does not, we do not plant. And then, if there is no follow-up rainfall, we lose the crop, and the investment made into it.

The same goes for our livestock. And we are so reliant on our export markets, to whom we export bulk meat. Nothing is value-added. The Europeans and the Norwegians do that and make the profits that we should keep in our country.

We need to get it together. We need to take control.

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