A bumper Year 2006?

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Farayi Munyuki The rains have come and in their wake everything seems to have changed. Roads have been excavated and it has been difficult for some of the residents of Katutura to return to their homes. Even in some low-density areas, homes were flooded. Furniture in some of these unfortunate homes was badly damaged. Some homes had to be abandoned and some residents had to be moved to safer places or asked to stay with friends. This is an experience the people of Katima Mulilo have been subjected to for years now since the time of independence. The Windhoek City Council acted more speedily than it did four years ago. We have criticised the council for not responding rapidly to such calamities before. But today, we are happy that they heeded our advice. While city dwellers were trying to cope with the problem of floods, farmers were happy that the rains that they have been waiting for had finally arrived. This was good news. For Windhoekers who live the double life of Dr Jackal and Mr Hide, the rains were a blessing. The rains will allow them lead another life. It is most common these days to find some of the most illustrious CEOs driving their four-wheel drive cars to wherever they own a piece of land to do some kind of weekend farming, as it were. Dr Kamuzu Banda, the former life President of Malawi, encouraged heads of government institutions and parastatals to engage in some form of weekend farming. They were rewarded for high yields in food production. Not all CEOs participated in such programmes, however. In this country, unlike in Malawi and Kenya, owning a piece of land is nothing more than a status symbol. One can pride himself by saying I got injured on my finger while trying to harness a harrow to my tractor on the farm. Others have looked at such farms as some kind of hideout, where they take their girlfriends, away from their nagging wives. A place where there is much tranquillity, a place where there is no chairperson to monitor them. Real farm life is full of all sorts of surprises. Farm workers are the immediate problems that greet them on arrival. Then there is the litany of farm problems, ranging from domestic issues to medical problems. In one instance, you are a farm manager and before the dawn of the next morning you would be expected to be a social worker. But can one really lead two lives? Some try but they often fail. To be successful in farming, one has to have some kind of knowledge. It is not the desire that makes one successful but knowing what is to be done. Can one excel in crop farming as well as in animal husbandry? A top executive in a mining venture cannot be expected to do well as an agronomist. We need to take off our hats to those who have tried hard to repeat both ends of the world. But owning a farm is not a big joke; neither does being a chief executive of a government company make one a successful manager. Both professions are extremely demanding. They need the presence of a chief executive on duty constantly. They each cannot be done on a piecemeal basis. Crop farmers are often judged by yields per hectare. Being chief executive officer is judged by how much the organisation has managed to cut off its deficit in the operating year. To achieve both is more of a miracle. This cannot be realised in present Namibia. Weekend farmers are likely to fail because they lack skills and other resources that are necessary for bumper harvests.

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