Namibian farmers dealing with weeds for better yield prospects

Laimi Sheeteni from the far-flung village in Namibia's Oshana region smiles as she gazes at her well germinated pearl millet.


But her smile fades when she recalled that in previous years, the sight of her once green pearl millet plot did not transpire into a good harvest due to a dry spell and drought that the country experienced.


“Due to a dry spell, we had a poor harvest in 2014, and much little in 2015. It kept worsening,” she told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Like many communal farmers in the region, she is hoping for a better harvest this year. While farmers hope for good rainfall, they have committed to manage one problem — weed.

“If we do not toil soon enough, we may lose our potential pearl millet yields to weeds. It is therefore better to tackle them at the start of the farming season,” said Sheeteni.

In fact, the farmer hires weeding groups to assist in weeding. Weeding groups comprises of fellow villager who have organized themselves to assist farmers with weeding, and are paid for their service.

“There is a weeding group from my village. It is more effective to hire a weeding group than tackling the field by myself if I want to save my crops,” Sheeteni told Xinhua.

She is not alone. Helena Itope is from the Oshana region. In the blazing sun, she toils hard in her pearl millet field. She is joined by a weeding group of ten members.

According to Itope, they recently received good rainfall and ploughed as they give farming another try with high hopes of a better harvest.

“We sowed after the first promising rainfall during mid-December in 2015. We are giving it our all,” she said.
“In the previous years, due to poor rainfall, our crops withered following a dry spell. We have not had a good harvest since the severe drought in 2013. It is for this reason that we are working hard and seek the assistance from weeding groups to manage rid weeds,” Itope said.

Ndapewa Nehepo is the leader of one of the weeding groups in the Oshana region.

“We help farmers with weeding to ensure that crops grow without any hindrances. We charge 80 Namibian dollars (5 U.S. dollars) per person for six hours’ work. Complemented by good rainfall, the aim is to address the lack of harvest and simultaneously alleviate poverty through agriculture while we earn an income,” said Nehepo.

In the meantime, there is no rest for farmers hoping to recover from drought, dubbed as the worst natural disaster Namibia experienced in 30 years. The farmers are confident that yields will improve. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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