IN CONVERSATION: Rural Women and Drought Resilience: Planting Drought Resistant Crops

Josephine Fugre is a small holder farmer from Mukwe in the Kavango East region in the north eastern part of Namibia. She has been farming since 2011. Josephine depends largely on rain for her crops. Josephine is planting drought-resistant maize. It only needs four months rain for it to be ready for harvesting. And if it doesn’t rain some days it won’t shows the same signs of drought in comparison to the normal yellow maize (that is used for cattle feed) and the white maize (that is used for food consumption).

I plough with oxen and a plough and I sow my seeds with my hands following the oxen as they make a Farrow. I throw the seeds in the Farrow and move up to the end of the line when they come back to make another Farrow than they cover the seeds with the soil. I wish I can demonstrate it.

The reason why I plant drought resistant crops is because for the past three years we had severe drought. I thought that it would not rain this year so I opted to plant it again and it will be ready for harvest by April.

The seeds are originally from Zambia. I bought the seeds from Zambians who come to look for piece work.  Normally I get it from a group of farmers but this year I bought it from individuals who came with it from Zambia. I will keep my seeds this year and share with others.

This maize is short but its growing longer because there is a lot of rain. It started raining in November and the soil is wet. This maize is good for people that irrigate because you don’t spend a lot of money on water bills and you harvest faster at a lower cost.


*This article was submitted by Josephine Fugre is a small holder farmer and a member

Busiswe Magangxela received seeds for millet during seed sharing of Ilizwi la mafama at Enaleni farm in Pietermaritzburg.  The seeds for the maize was received from a collaboration we have with UFH, Rhodes, Fort cox, Zingisa and Ilizwi together with agricultural extension in Middledrift. Research was done on a variety that is resistant to drought and ZM 1523, a variety from Zimbabwe passed the tests.I planted this on 1 hectare of dry land and I depend on rainfall. So far everything is fine.

I still plant our own traditional varieties in my garden though.


Busi pic 1
OPV Maize Variety 


The picture above is the situation right now. It is OPV maize variety ZM 1523 and it is drought resistant. I planted 1 hectare of this in my field. The aim is to multiply by seed saving for the next seasons. Below is a picture of OPV Millet that I planted for family consumption and chicken feed. It is GMO free, we say NO TO GMO’s. We must practice what we preach.


busi pic 2
OPV Millet 


We used cow manure as fertiliser and ILIMA for removing the weeds. We also asked a group of men from the village to help, then we cook for them and give them their favourite drinks.

The only challenge is pest control as the stalk borer is the enemy. Only organic way to prevent this pest is using  Push and Pull with desmodium and nappier grass. The desmodium is very expensive. I had a locust disaster early December in my garden but everything is fine now.

*This article was submitted by Busiswe Magangxela, a small holder farmer from Eastern Cape. She is a member of Ilizwi la mafama.



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