By Timo Shihepo
When Helvi Chihinga (38) was introduced to conservation agriculture, she contemplated on switching from conventional farming that she has been so accustomed to since the years of her forefathers. But once she made the switch she wishes she had made it earlier.
Over the years, Chihinga has been farming like any other small-scale communal farmer in a remote village called Sivara situated in Namibia’s Kavango East region.
But ever since she was introduced to conservation agriculture in 2017 she has never looked back.
Before conservation agriculture, it used to take Chihinga about two weeks to cultivate a hectare but after switching to conservation agriculture, she says it only takes her three days to cultivate the same field.
“This is my first year doing conservation agriculture and I must say I am impressed.
I am even harvesting as I speak to you right now. I am harvesting mahangu (millet) and beans.
This wouldn’t have been possible by now if I wasn’t practicing conservation agriculture. Those doing normal farming are yet to harvest,” she tells The Southern Times.
What has changed then ever since she switched from normal farming to conservation agriculture? Chihinga says conservation agriculture helps the seed grow very fast.
“Maybe you are not aware but we farm in a sandy area here and it dries fast when it rains but with conservation agriculture it has minimised these challenges,” she said.
She thanked the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the German Cooperation for the assistance rendered to her and other people who have switched to conservation agriculture.
Among others, she received training, fertilizer, seeds and other support. In turn, she is willing to train other farmers.
“I wish other people can also adopt conservation agriculture,” she said