Feature: Radio helps Namibian farmer improve farming skills

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-01 18:43:01|Editor: xuxin
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by Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Liina Mupopya, a 52 years old farmer from a far-flung village in Namibia's Oshana region, never goes anywhere without her radio. Even on the drizzly day, she wraps the battery-powered radio in a plastic bag and takes it along when she toils her field.

Amid climate variability and poor yields over the years due to prolonged drought, she decided to maximize on agricultural program and weather news broadcast on radio to improve yields. She mainly listens to radio stations broadcast in her indigenous language.

"I listen to weather news, agricultural shows and broader topics," she said.

The weather news is helping her manoeuvre the unpredictable weather patterns, as well as to counteract the possible impact of weather changes.

The weather reports have since aided to her preparedness for the current farming season, whose crop growth looks promising.

"At the beginning of the season, weather news aired on the radio helped me prepare. I was able to assess the soil and select the seeds suited for the promising rainfall as predicted," Mupopya said on Thursday.

Today, she beams in the hope of the anticipated good harvest and prosperity. There is more.

"If they predict heavy rainfall on radio, I can work on my field extra hours, or source extra workforce from my fellow villagers to ensure tillage is completed by then. This way, my crops grow without hindrance by the weed," she added.

The weather update is provided to broadcasters by the local Meteorological Services under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said the officer, Odile Kgobetsi.

Other program on the radio have also been instrumental to her improved farming approach. She also faithfully listens to 'Oprogramma yuunamapya', an agricultural programme aired on the national Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Kati FM -- in the Oshiwambo vernacular language.

"Living in the village one tends to be far from formal training opportunities. But listening to this program has taught me a lot about new farming techniques. These include unconventional methods of farming such as application of fertilisers and weed management," she added.

It is the program that catapulted Mupopya into prosperity. At times, when listening to the radio, she also gets the number of experts who have been on the radio, whom she calls for further advice.

"One time I was struggling with old traditional farming practices until an expert, who was a guest on the program offered alternative techniques on to deal with the storing and selection of seeds that are resistant to a certain climate. I took his number, called him, and this year my field is blossoming," she added.

The show, said Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Kati FM radio presenter Simon Kondjashili, covers various topics on agriculture from farmers, experts and industry.

"Most people live in rural areas and may not be able to afford formal training in farming. The radio show bridges the gaps. It serves as a hub of information and networking," Kondjashili said.

Meanwhile, Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's representative in Namibia, said that radio is still the most used, consumed medium and form of communication.

"Radio creates belonging of the global community but also gives a voice and possibility for those in remote areas to access information. Radio is a unique means to promote diversity, and expression of ideas," he said.