Katima Mulilo-Farmers in the Zambezi Region are hopeful they will have a good harvest this year following good rains although the rains were heavy and had left their fields flooded.
At Sangwali and Malengalenga farmers have credited their expected good harvest to training initiated by the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) which trained small-scale farmers residing along Sobbe wildlife corridor in Mudumu South Complex of Zambezi in the areas of Mashi, Balyerwa, Wuparo and Dzoti. The project is part of a bigger more holistic programme which involves IRDNC and Namibia Development Trust that aims to improve wildlife corridor management and food security in Zambezi and the country at large. The training took place last October and farmers were advised to diversify crops as the weather seemed unfavourable for drought-resistant crops. The focus was much more on late and medium maturing crops, as these crops are resistant to water lodging, and have high-yield potential and stability.
Thirty-two farmers including ten lead farmers, the majority of them women, were trained.
During the training farmers were introduced to three conservancy agricultural principles, namely minimum soil disturbance, crop rotation and soil cover.
Although farmers could not predict how many bags of maize they might harvest given that they are small-scale farmers, they were adamant the harvest would be good.
“I will have a good harvest compared to last year – last year there was no rain, but this year we were fortunate we received good rains, and thanks to the training we received we have learnt new methods of farming which are very good compared to the traditional way of farming,” said Kazi Kamukwake one of the beneficiary small-scale farmers.
Another small-scale farmer Regina Mulozi also praised the training, but she pointed out that the only challenge she faced was putting manure in her field.
“The place I had to collect manure from was far and I only managed to put it on one side of my field – however the training helped a lot and the maize where I put manure is looking good compared to the one I didn’t put,” she narrated.
According to Vasco Samwaka from NNF the overall objective of this intervention is to strengthen existing conservation agriculture to bring about its adoption in areas bordering the Sobbe wildlife corridor.
“As soil becomes degraded farmers leave their field and start new fields, and with an increasing population, there is little space for wildlife to live in and crop fields are destroyed. The conservation agriculture method tries to address this problem by advising farmers to maintain the same field every year, through consistent application of organic matters/manure and crop rotation in order to restore soil fertility,” said Samwaka.