Mmegi Online :: Don’t give up yet, Radithupa urges
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Last Updated
Wednesday 21 August 2019, 08:57 am.
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Don’t give up yet, Radithupa urges

As the country’s most beloved weatherman, Radithupa Radithupa’s forecasts carry a special weight in the hearts and minds of farmers. But two heatwaves into the season and no sign of rains especially in the South, doubts and desperation are rising. Radithupa tells Mmegi Staff Writer, MBONGENI MGUNI the rains will fall, starting this weekend
By Mbongeni Mguni Fri 07 Dec 2018, 13:35 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Don’t give up yet, Radithupa urges








Radithupa Radithupa says there should be rains along the country’s eastern regions, both north and south, starting this weekend and leading into next week. Should that happen, the rains could be the signal for hundreds of thousands of communal farmers in the South to start ploughing their fields, nearly halfway into the official rain season.

In the North, recent downpours of up to 100 millimetres in some areas marked the official onset of the rains there, allowing farmers to plough and plant. But farmers in the South have looked on in disbelief as a scene of uncomfortable familiarity plays itself out before their eyes.

In 2015/16 the South suffered its worst drought in 34 years, with Gaborone Dam drying up for the first time in history and a water supply crisis gripping the capital. The country issued its first humanitarian appeal for global help in 14 years and harsh lessons were learnt.

This season, the Meteorological Services Department had warned in August that the nightmarish El Nino phenomenon was strengthening over the country, leading to an outlook of below normal rainfall and high temperatures.

The forecasts are coming to life, with areas in the South of the country yet to witness the onset of the rains. Instead, temperatures have touched 40 degrees in the two heatwaves that have hit the South and the rest of the country so far this season.

“We are not surprised but as humans, we also get worried even though we knew it would not be a good year,” Radithupa says.

“People say ‘Modimo o teng’ and disagree with our forecasts, but there are natural variabilities.

“Even if you look at the Bible, you see that these events were there, although climate change is now exacerbating the situation.

“In the Bible, there were wet and dry years, times of plenty and times of famine, even up to the time that meteorologists started collecting data.

“When we apply that data and science as meteorologists, it’s not that we are saying we

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know better than God.

“The seasonal rain forecast is there to help farmers manage their climate risks.”

A Mmegi newscrew that toured parts of Kweneng District this week met exasperated communal farmers who expressed frustration with the delays in the onset of the rains. While some have given up and are now focussing on keeping their livestock alive, others continue to look to the skies, ready to plough at the first sign that the rains have arrived.

On that front, Radithupa says farmers in the South should expect relief, to an extent, over the weekend as rains are due to arrive all along the country’s eastern edges. The rains, he says, could possibly allow ploughing activities to begin and lead to a period of more well distributed and “organised”.

“There are signs that the rains are coming in the next two weeks, starting with the showers expected this weekend.

“The situation we have seen thus far has been that the rains that have occurred have been sporadic, with heavy thunderstorms in one area and nothing in an adjacent area.

“We are hoping that as we go towards the end of the year, maybe into the beginning of next year, we see more organised systems with better rainfall.”

For Radithupa, despite the late rains, not all is lost. The veteran meteorologist has seen worse starts to the rain season, when rains arrived late, but fields emerged healthy.

“We still have four months in the season and we cannot lose hope,” he says.

“Yes we have passed that time when the rains usually come, but with those that are due, maybe by next week some areas will be wet enough for ploughing to start.

“It’s difficult for me to say give up; of course this is an individual decision but there is still time.

“Take the advice of the agronomists, whether it be on the crop maturities, varieties or even the crops to plant. That’s risk management.”

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