Despite worms farmers are optimistic of a good harvest

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Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya – Farmers in the Oshikoto Region are hopeful that this year they will have a good harvest despite the outbreak of worms in their fields in recent weeks.
One of the hopeful farmers from Omuthiya, Esther Clonelius, who has been very busy weeding her three fields, says a part of one of her fields, situated a few kilometres outside Omuthiya, is already infested by unidentified worms.

Clonelius described the worms as having a red and greenish colour but has not reported the matter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

“These worms attack in a group and feed on the stems, mostly of beans and mahangu. We only discovered their presence last week and I am yet to report the case. I am just hoping they do not destroy my whole field because I can’t afford to lose everything. I have already suffered for the past four years when I did not harvest anything,” said Clonelius. She spoke from her house where she runs a restaurant after spending hours in the field attending to her crops.

“If it continues raining up to mid-March I am certain hunger will definitely be alleviated for the whole year because I know the harvest will last,” she said, adding that last year she only harvested 150 bags of mahangu from her three fields. She is not sure about the size of her fields.

Clonelius points out that most farmers are hindered from cultivating more because of the unaffordability and lack of tractors in the area, adding that those that manage to get tractors are further financially drained by having to pay people to help them do weeding.
“Tractors are too expensive whereby one has to pay N$400 per hour when using a private tractor – now imagine if you have a big field. The one of the government which is affordable is rarely available due to high demand,” said Clonelius, who has so far spent slightly over N$3 000 to pay people to weed, in addition to another N$3 000 spent on cultivating the fields.

“I therefore appeal to government to avail more tractors so that everyone can get a fair chance to plough more as it’s affordable, unlike now when everyone scrambles for it [the one tractor],” said Clonelius.

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