OSHITEYATEMO – While mahangu and maize farmers are preparing for a failed crop – one subsistence rice farmer is certain about a good harvest.
Rauna Kleopas from Oshiteyatemo in Omusati Region grows rice in addition to mahangu.
Kleopas ventured into rice growing in 1999 and has over the years sustained her family of 18.
Growing only one rice variety at the time, she was able to produce enough surplus to sell to earn a little income to help her fulfill other needs.
Today Kleopas counts among seasoned rice farmers and has successfully transformed herself from growing one rice variety to growing three varieties.
“Although the mahangu crops have died, I will still be able to produce enough rice to feed my family this year,” said Kleopas.
Kleopas was motivating and encouraging potential rice farmers at a Namibia-Japan rice and mahangu project field day held at Oshiteyatemo on Tuesday. The event was organized by the University of Namibia’s Ogongo campus in Omusati Region.
With her wide experience in planting and transplanting rice, Kleopas has also trained more than 20 farmers on how to plant and transplant rice in their own fields.
Kleopas has undergone training from preparing her field to harvesting, at Unam’s Ogongo campus.
Although the project has been going very well, Kleopas relates that lack of equipment, timing, land preparation and lack of motivation are among many factors that are a challenge to growing rice successfully.
“Some farmers that we started off with at the project dropped out mainly because of inexperience. We also started with direct planting instead of transplanting and there was also a delay in harvesting,” recalled Kleopas.
However she encouraged other potential rice farmers to grow rice to sustain their families in instances where the rain is too much or too little, such as this year when rains have been erratic.
She said farmers living close to low-lying areas that have water for sustained periods of time should utilize such places to increase crop production.
Potential rice farmers are encouraged to visit the Ogongo campus for basic training and information sharing on how to grow rice successfully.
The Namibia-Japan rice and mahangu project was introduced three years ago.