Thursday, May 2, 2013

Drought torments Namibian farmers

Francia Xoagub in via New Era (Namibia): With memories of last year's drought still fresh in their memories, communal farmers in the south are afraid the current devastating dry spell will continue until December.

One of the worst droughts in years continues to worsen according to the latest Namibia Crop Prospect and Food Security Situation Report. "At this point in time I'm very concerned about it," said Daniel Gariseb (63) of farm //Khu !Hoes in the Berseba district during an interview with New Era this week.

"It can get wet fast, but our drought pattern from last year has not changed. We haven't had much moisture this year and we are already in the winter," lamented Gariseb, who also observed: "We're starting to see farmers sell their cattle because they don't have grass to feed them."

He lost two goats out of a herd of 72 due to the drought and was also compelled to sell 30 of his goats at give-away prices to commercial farmers who seem to exploit the situation. "There are areas of our farm and ditches I've never seen this dry," he said.

"I'd sure like to see some moisture, especially in the subsoil and we need a lot of rain and less heat going through July and August," said the small-stock farmer. The farmer, who herds his own goats in the bone-dry planes of Berseba Constituency, acknowledges that among farmers close to him "only a small percentage... came out okay," because of having their crops adequately insured and their healthy financial status....

A date palm plantation in Namibia, shot by Anagoria, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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