Praying for rain, not handouts

Farmers in Kavango East are delighted with the rain that has fallen since Sunday but say the soil is not yet wet enough for ploughing.

05 December 2019 | Agriculture

A Kavango East pensioner says he is looking forward to a good rainy season in order to work his field, as he wants to stop depending on government handouts.

Michael Moyo (67) from Mauvara village in the Mashare Constituency said he still has a strong passion to feed his family and anticipates a bumper harvest next year, following the recent good rains.

Mauvara is about 60 kilometres east of Rundu.

Prior to spotting Moyo at his homestead, Namibian Sun observed how farmers in the surrounding areas have not started ploughing their fields, despite the good rains that have fallen since Friday in the Kavango regions.

When asked why he has not ploughed his field, Moyo explained the recent rainfall has not loosened the soil to a stage where it can be ploughed. He stressed they are waiting for more rain.

“The soil is wet but the water has not penetrated deep enough and that is why we have not ploughed yet,” Moyo said.

He added the rain is also dissipating or slowing down.

Moyo then explained that in the past they would start ploughing in October, as it used to rain earlier, but during recent times good rains only start in late November or early December.

“By this time the maize would be a metre from the ground, but now we are in December and all you can see is the reeds of last season's harvest,” he said.

Moyo said if they receive good rains soon, they will plough their crop fields and start planting seeds.

“What we need now is just good rains and we are set to work our fields. I love to work the fields, because it is the only way I can provide for my family. I don't believe in being given food for free,” he said.

Moyo said his family currently depends on his monthly pension grant, which he says is not enough to cater for all their needs.

He added that his pension grant is only able to cater for a bag of maize meal, cosmetics, meat, their water account and some basic cooking items, as well the N$200 spent on transport to and from Rundu.

He also revealed the drought situation has negatively affected his livestock, as he lost five cattle this year.

“There was no grass for the cattle to graze on, and with the little rain we experienced thus far, the ground remains clear. We are forced to drive our livestock to the road reserves, as there is a little bit of grass that the livestock can feed on,” Moyo said.

He told Namibian Sun he continues to wait for the drought relief aid for his livestock from the Mashare Constituency office, in order to feed his animals.

Mashare Constituency councillor Phillip Mavara said farmers have been collecting lucerne and maize bales from his office, provided they have their livestock cards.

Mavara said his office is not able to transport the bales from village to village, therefore farmers are encouraged to make provision for their own transport and collect the bales.

“As we speak there are a lot of bales at my office. Unfortunately we do not have transport to distribute from village to village. If the farmers can get their own transport, and have their livestock cards, they are welcome to go to the office and get them free of charge,” Mavara said.

He said his office is still busy with the process of distributing bags of rice, tins of fish and cooking oil to needy persons in the communities.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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