WOMEN in farming in the Daures Constituency in the Erongo Region underwent a one-day training programme on how to grow hydroponic fodder grass in order to sustain themselves during the ongoing drought in the country.
The facilitator, Agnes Tengovandu Upi-Tjindjo, who attended training in Zambia and Tanzania, says she decided to empower other women and trained a total 10 women in Otjihorongo and Omatjete.
Upi-Tjindjo noted that the programme will adequately equip women in farming so that they no longer have to rely on the rain for survival.
She added that farmers need to adopt drought-feeding strategies and invest in appropriate technologies or machines available, such as a hammer mill and a feed mixer to process and formulate their own drought feeds.
“It requires 90% less water than conventional soil-based farming. Since it is water-based, it has macro and micronutrients directly fed to the plant and the plants grow 50% faster, as well as have a better yield,” explained Upi-Tjondjo, adding that hydroponics fodder gives farmers an affordable and sustainable source of fresh fodder to see the livestock through the drought.
Erongo governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua, concurred that the region is hard hit by the ongoing drought and that several settlements such as Omatjete are already facing water shortages, with water being transported by truck for distribution as boreholes have run dry.
Residents of Omaruru and Uis, who rely on groundwater for human consumption, will soon experience a similar situation.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, information obtained in 2016 via Namibia Poverty Mapping, 24% of the population in the Erongo region relied on subsistence farming, 25% depended on old-age pensions as their main source of income, with the rest (51%) depending on salaries and wages.