Floods Force Premature Harvest

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By Reagan Malumo

KATIMA MULILO

Farmers at Muyako in the Caprivi Region are rushing to harvest whatever they can after their crop fields in the fertile Lyambezi Lake area were totally submerged by floodwater gushing from the Zambezi and the Chobe rivers.

The situation has forced these farmers to harvest and transport the hastily harvested maize to higher, drier ground even before the maize is ripe lest they lose everything to the floods.

Dug-out canoes have turned out to be the only means of transport during the process while those without canoes are sailing through the water by feet to rescue their crops.

Over the years due to its fertility, Muyako has been the maize-belt of the Caprivi.

It serves as the main maize supplier to three main milling companies operating in Katima Mulilo. Even though farmers from this area always have bumper yields this year, things seem not to have worked to their advantage because of record flooding.

They expressed dismay over what they called excessive damage to their crops.

They say the situation seemed promising in the first place but now the floodwater has caused most of them to despair.

Meanwhile, the situation seems to have affected not only the farmers but all communities that depend largely on subsistence farming. To them, because this has come at a time when maize prices have risen, it means life will be extra hard.

“We do not know what to eat this year, we are scared,” said one distressed community member.

Recently, NDF trucks assisted farmers at Muyako to transport maize to nearby villages.

Given the fact that the situation in which the farmers are harvesting their crop looks difficult, most of them are asking the Government and the business community to assist them with boats for use during the process. They fear that since the lake is now full, crocodiles have increased, threatening the farmers’ lives. They further applauded the Ministry of Defence for availing trucks to ferry their crop. They said if they had boats, harvesting would have been quicker.

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