Anne-Nora Reaps What She Sows in Okongo

Windhoek-based Anne-Nora Lameck has defied the odds by producing a bumper harvest of mahangu at her village field in the Okongo district.

Lameck, who works as a senior communication practitioner for diamond giant Namdeb, looks back with a smile of appreciation to the time she contemplated selling her mahangu field altogether.

“My late mother Mkwahongo wa Hangula, mee Nangula Lameck, mee Ndamona Ndeulita, encouraged me not to sell my field some years back when I wanted to throw in the towel and I thank mee Nanghali Mutota for paving the way for me to be at Oupili,” said Lameck.

What started off as a pastime in 1995 turned out to be serious production, which the farmer only got to realise recently.

Although she is unable to tell the quantity of mahangu she produced this year, Lameck says this is the first time she’s produced a massive quantity of mahanhu, enough to feed her family and rake in an income.

“I always think of my family and those around me who need to be assisted,” she said.

“I’m not talking of those visiting cuca-shops when we are busy cultivating, but those who tried but did not get enough from their field and they do assist us during that time. I will store enough for our consumption and the rest I’ll sell to those who need mahangu.”

Coming from a family that consistently cultivated mahangu, Lameck said as children they were taught not to rely on begging, but to work hard for what they consume as a family.

Although her father was based in Windhoek while the rest of the family lived the north, their mahangu field yielded enough food to sustain the family throughout the year.

This is how she derived motivation to ensure that her crops survive even when she is not in Oupili to oversee every course of action taking place in her field.

“At my house in Oupili I have a dedicated team of people living with me. I do not call them workers as we are big family now – and they always make sure that everything is in order in my absence. We plan together what we are going to achieve and this year we achieved, as planned, a bumper harvest. We plan to make next year even better,” she said.

The bumper harvest did not come on a silver platter as Lameck and her team relies on using oxen for ploughing as tractors are scarce in the Okongo area. The team was however lucky this year to be assisted by Steven Unoovene, a tractor owner from Okongo who ploughed half of the field.

Like many other farmers, last year’s drought that came with the delay in the rainy season also proved to be a challenge, as oxen were not g enough to plough, hence a delay in the cultivation.

“There are times when it will stop [raining] for a while and the crops suffer. I wish I had a borehole on my field as I would be able to water my whole field when the rain stops,” she adds.

Lameck encouraged other farmers to work hard and “do Namibia proud”.

“I am sick and tired of hearing that Namibians are lazy people. We are not lazy, but we rely too much on the government to do everything for us. If you do not have cattle or goat manure, please visit areas where cattle and goats gather especially the water ponds, and gather the manure. This will help those who have no cattle and goats also to yield more mahangu.”

Source : New Era