Meteorology advises farmers to stop ploughing

It is expected to be a drought year
It is expected to be a drought year

The Department of Meteorological Services (DMS) has advised farmers to stop ploughing as the country is going through a dry spell.

Speaking at the media briefing on Tuesday, DMS acting director Othata Mmolotsi said the rainy months of January to March would be unusually dry this year.

He said it was not advisable for farmers to plough now as the forecast was for low or no rainfall, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the country. 

“We had advised farmers to plough during the early rains. We have discouraged them to plough maize, as it needs a lot of water. We had told them that the second rainfall season would be dry. It is advisable that they plant early maturing crops like sorghum and others,” he added.

The department was particularly concerned about the drought-prone areas of Kgalagadi and Southern District, as maize requires a lot of water.

“The northern parts of the country (Ngamiland, Chobe, Ghanzi) and northern parts of the Central Districts are expected to receive normal to below normal rains. The Southwest and Southern parts of the country (Kgalagadi and Southern district) were expected to receive normal to above normal rains,” he said.

The Eastern parts of the country comprising of South East, Kgatleng, Kweneng, North East and southern parts of the Central districts were also projected to receive normal to below normal rains, he added.

“The state of the Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) in the east and central Pacific Ocean are depicting weak El Nino conditions which is likely to be sustained into the southern hemisphere autumn in 2015.

“It is expected that the above average SST in the Pacific Ocean and weak El Nino conditions would influence the weather and climate patterns over Botswana although they are not the only influencing factors for rainfall,” Mmolotsi said.

He also pointed out that the persistence of tropical cyclones in the Mozambique Channel was another factor, which could significantly affect rainfall over the eastern part of Botswana.

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