Drought drives young Namibian farmers to urban areas


John Sheya, a 30-year-old farmer in Namibia’s northern region of Oshana, has decided to go to the nearest town to seek a job as he says he can barely survive on his farm with the worst drought in three decades hitting the country. bekker-farmers-first-harvest11-1024x767
“The harvest was poor. The staple crop pearl millet yields are minimal and the future of livestock farming looks bleak,” said Sheya.
“We can barely survive from the minimal crop yields. I depended on my crops surplus and livestock to generate an income to cater for my livelihood. I have therefore decided to move to the nearest town to seek employment to support my family,” he told Xinhua.
Figures from the prime minister’s office shows that close to 418,000 people in Namibia have been affected by drought.
Poor harvest has driven more and more young farmers to urban areas to earn a living. The once “well-to-do farmers” are facing a challenging start as most of them lack educational qualifications.
“I would like to be accorded the chance to drive a taxi. I have a driver’s license. The search (for the job) is not easy as I am not alone in this. To increase my chance and attract potential employers, I have in the meantime advertised on local radio that I am seeking employment as a taxi driver,” Sheya said, waiting for the job offer in Oshakati town.
Caroline Sheetekela, 32, who used to plant pearl millet and sorghum back at home in Oshikoto region, recently settled in Goreangab slums in the suburb of the capital Windhoek, where she now works as a hairdresser.
“Although I ploughed and worked on my field early during the rainy season, I have nothing to show for it but wilted crops,” Sheetekela said.
She has set up a “corrugated iron structure” that serves as a hair salon.
“The income is not as much as I would earn from my farm but it’s better than letting my family starve,” she said, adding that she can also get some food aid from the government.
The government early this year promised to provide those affected by drought with aid including maize meals. Enditem

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