CONFLICTING indicators on the coming raining season and a poor economy with little or no promise of massive governmental intervention should the drought continue, have farmers scratching their heads on what to do in a worst case scenario.
Cattle and small stock herds are already decimated and on hope alone, farmers cannot survive.
Many farmers have already given up on even saving their core herds and are now literally involved in a battle with death as their available capital is also depleted and banks are moving in.
On the fringes, government has announced a plan to finance part of setting up hydroponic fodder production systems and although some farmers dismiss this as too little too late, the practice is not unknown and some farmers are already producing green sprout fodder for their animals.
A farmer near Okahandja in the central commercial farming area is keeping his 200 cows producing on green sprouts, boskos and a power feed mix, that cost him less than N$10 per cow per day. He is confident that he will carry the best of his production cattle through until better times are here.
His hydroponic system uses little water and waste is minimal. He also designed his grow house and batching system himself at minimum cost. The big issue now is seeds for his green sprouts, as cost has now risen sky high.
The Government’s proposed hydroponics system are more intricate and can only kick off after a process of application, selection, training, financing and implementation.
The farmer in Okahandja, Mr. Nico Tromp, is also of the opinion that producing green sprout fodder all year round and converting it into stored fodder for leaner times, is the future.