Omaheke Farmers Hold Breath Over Rain

Concern is mounting among communal farmers in Epukiro Constituency in Omaheke Region, as dry conditions persist with hardly any signs of rains coming soon.

Matjituavi Tjerivanga, who had engaged in farming in the area for more than 35 years, says although there is still hope of rain in his community, he fears that farmers will face serious problems if rains continue to evade the area.

“As you can see, December is a typical wet month and by now planting season should be in full force but instead, many farmers are still waiting for some rain to come so that they can plant,” he says.

“We missed a lot of December showers,” said Talbot County farmer Greg Gannon. “We’re typically waiting for a dry spell time of year but it’s a reversal because we are waiting for some moisture this time,” he added.

He said December brings well more than average rain. But so far this year, the region has received less than a quarter of the usual volumes, which is not enough to get farming activities going. Furthermore, farmers in the area have been plunged into a state of fear as a result of the destructive activities by an elephant in the area.

The wild animal was last week Wednesday spotted at villages such as Kalpan and Omaue-jozonjanda where it destroyed fences and water tanks. Akas Katjiteo, a 37-year-old communal farmer at Kalpan for the 20 years, said it was scary to see such a huge animal wondering in the village. “It was very scary because this is the first time for me to see an elephant, we are not used to this sort of animals, we don’t know how to deal with them,” he said.

Katjiteo appealed to government to help drive the elephant away to enable the farmers to continue with their farming activities.

Tjerivanga said although the elephant went past his homestead at around 9 pm on Wednesday no major damage was caused apart from the destruction of fences. “The presence of the elephant is a burden on us since we fear to go to our farms and there is nothing we can do to drive the elephant away without the support of the relevant ministry”, he stressed.

When contacted yesterday, Ministry of Environment and Tourism Omaheke Regional Head, Mendes Vinte, assured the communities in the area that they have been tracking the animal and they believe that it went back into the forests far from the people.

“In case it returns, I aise villagers to try and keep the dogs away from the animal as this might anger the elephant,” he said.

Source : New Era