Mmegi Online :: How the dry spell is killing Northern farmersí dreams
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Last Updated
Monday 15 October 2018, 15:57 pm.
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How the dry spell is killing Northern farmersí dreams

FRANCISTOWN: The persisting lack of rainfall in the country is proving hugely disruptive to the ploughing season in areas around the northern region.
By Kesone Nkaelang Keneilwe Ramphopho Fri 19 Jan 2018, 16:05 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: How the dry spell is killing Northern farmersí dreams








Farmers in the Central and North East districts under TOTUMA Arable and Commercial Farmers Association, are attempting to soldier on with their plans despite the challenges.

TOTUMA is an acronym for the Tonota, Tutume and Masunga farming areas.

A Mmegi news crew that toured the area found dejected farmers, who however, are vowing to adapt to the disappointing situation.

“Prior to the rainfall experienced late last year, I took advantage and serviced my tractor and other farming implements and got my seeds ready,” Mapoka-based farmer, Rex Mukokomani said.

Mukokomani added that in a good ploughing season his yield of maize reaches three tonnes per hectare. 

Now, looking at the current situation, he believes he might only produce less than two tonnes per hectare, which he says will terribly affect his plans for the year.

Maize is critical to his livelihood as a farmer in the area.  Mukokomani grows it both for commercial purposes and also to feed his family and chickens that he rears within the village.

Angelina Siwawa is a farmer based in Tsamaya. She told Mmegi that with help from the Department of

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Meteorological Services, they were able to accurately forecast the level of rainfall they would receive and thus planted early.

 “Despite the normal-to-above below rainfalls expected according to the Meteorological Services, we remain hopeful that we will yield more crops,” she said.

She added that due to the below normal rainfall received this year, she is only looking to the skies hoping that “something will come on time”.

The Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) remains helpful in the farmer’s preparations.

The two farmers said the programme has offered them seeds to encourage more ploughing.Siwawa added that they occasionally receive advice from the extension officers.

“They have advised us to plant drought-tolerant and short-season crops,” she said.

The two farmers have therefore planted crops such as millet, lablab, maize and peanuts, which can cope with the forecast rainfall situation in the Central and North East agriculture districts.The duo also benchmarks often in neighbouring countries, attending agricultural shows and networking with other farmers. 

This, they say, is to enhance their farming skills and formulate ways to handle the uncertainties of the weather patterns.

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