WINDHOEK: Local farmers should ease the risk of water shortage by finding innovative and alternative methods to conserve water for their crops.
Namibia’s largest short-term insurer, Santam’s Specialised Crop Insurance Manager Johan van den Berg gave the advice in a media statement issued on Monday.
“In the face of a growing demand for water and anxiety about future weather patterns, it is imperative that local farmers take the onus upon themselves to mitigate the risk of water shortage by finding innovative and alternative methods to conserve water for their crops,” he stressed.
Although government has called for N.dollars 3.7 billion over the coming five years for the development and upgrading
of its water supply infrastructure, van den Berg said a significant amount of water is needed for agricultural use, and farmers should take their own precautions.
He suggested that the best approach to improve long-term crop sustainability is by mitigating as much risk as possible and by proactively managing this complicated ecological area.
Other ways are to select the most suitable areas and keep away from marginal production areas; selection for better plant genetics must also get attention; improving the process of establishing new crops by optimising cultivation techniques; a mulch cover can greatly reduce water losses and also keep soil temperatures lower as well as to enhance the symbiotic effect with micro-organisms in the soil.
Van den Berg said conservation farming is a new avenue that can improve water holding capacity of very sandy soils.
Farmers can also approach insurers to provide cover for ‘acts of God’.
“Despite the unanswered questions in predicting climatic patterns, however, every farmer can and should take
decisive actions to mitigating potential upsets damage to their crop,” he added.