It’s 2019 and our food import bill remains in the billions, and our local produce continues to face tough conditions, especially when it floods during the rainy season, and when locusts attack. Yet, instead of encouraging farmers to produce, we’re confiscating their equipment and charging them for stealing water from a drain to water their crops.
Let’s take a moment to digest that information. Sure, we understand the pitfalls of the dry season and how desperately the country needs to conserve the treated water that we receive in our taps, however much we may receive.
But it’s hard to think that farmers are now due to appear in court for allegedly taking water out of a drain without first applying for a license to do so. On top of that, their water pumps were seized by WASA police and we’re not sure if they’ll even get that back.
Let’s move forward now, what are we doing now to prepare for next year’s dry season? Certainly we hope the authorities are looking closely and coming up with nifty ideas to help farmers get access to water to grow their crops. If not, we’ll be in a tough position by losing produce in both the dry and wet seasons.
Agricultural ponds and subsidizing water storage facilities are just two suggestions, so we don’t have to see farmers being charged for attempting to grow food in this country.
We’re happy to see the Agricultural Society taking a more direct approach with their irrigation project, to help clear channels to open reservoirs. These, it says, will capture water entering from outside sources such as drains. Hopefully more arms of government will get on board with this project to speed it up and allow for more farming areas to benefit.
Now, we just have to figure out a way to deal with the locust invasion affecting the south-western areas. Of course, like everything else more resources are needed!