WINDHOEK, 05 APR – The recent good rainfall is too late for crop farmers in the Kunene Region, where farmers have already lost seeds, a crop production expert has said.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Venaune Hepute said too much water during late rainy seasons, such as what the country is experiencing now, negatively affects crop farmers.
Most crop farmers in the region have not been planting for the past seven to eight years due to the drought, he said, but the recent rain will have given them false hope.
These farmers will spend money on planting, which will not profit them at all, Hepute said.
“Many of them will put their last seeds in the ground, hoping that it will yield fruit or vegetables. The seeds farmers planted earlier have been suffocated by water, translating into a loss for such farmers,” he explained.
A cattle farmer engaged in small scale crop production in Kunene, Nikita Mukuaruuze, shared with Nampa that he lost all seeds he planted earlier to the recent rain.
Treasurer-General of the Namibia National Farmers Union, Amon Kapi echoed Mukuaruuze and Hepute in that those farmers who planted earlier lost everything to the rain.
Hepute urged weather forecast services in Namibia to signal early warnings to the entire country, including farmers, to avoid losses.
“Weather forecasting and predictions must be revealed to local farmers at an early stage to allow them to plan properly,” he suggested.
Farmers should also be made aware way in advance of when it will rain, for how long it will rain and how much rain would be received, said Hepute, adding that this will help farmers to plant accordingly and they will know what crops to plant that will survive the duration of that rainy season.
“Farmers’ unions should also equip farmers with knowledge on what crops to plant during which rainy season,” he said.
A season such as the recent one, which Hepute described as a short duration variety, will be good for farmers to plant cowpea that can adapt easily to the weather, he said.
“I would not advise farmers to plant maize as it very sensitive to frost and may not survive the rain duration the country is experiencing at the moment,” he concluded.