Rising Okavango River floods community garden

06 Apr 2016 09:30am
KATWITWI, 06 APR (NAMPA) – The Kambangura Community Gardening Project in Kavango West's Mpungu Constituency is completely under water due to the rising Okavango River.
Members of the project have appealed to Government to help save their garden that usually produces tomatoes, red and green peppers, beans, paw paws, cabbages, watermelons, maize, onions, and spinach.
The project generally sells their produce to other villages such as Nkurenkuru and Katwitwi, as well as to people from neighbouring Angola.
All these growing crops have however been destroyed by rising water levels.
“With this garden completely under water, it feels as if we are mourning someone who died. This is how this ordeal is making us feel,” the chairperson of the project, Hosea Kambangura, said.
He told Nampa on Friday that he observed the river level rising last week but did not believe that the water would actually reach their garden, as the river banks seemed far away.
However, three days later he saw water penetrating the garden where the watermelons and other vegetables were planted downstream.
The whole garden is now completely submerged.
“All the crops to feed the children have been destroyed. These people are unemployed and depend on the crops for their livelihood,” Kambangura said worryingly.
The project received a N.dollars 38 000 grant from the then Kavango Regional Council which they used to buy a big water pump, pipes to water the crops and other equipment for the garden.
However, all this equipment is now under water and Kambangura fears that even if the water subsides, nothing will be salvaged.
The 12 members of the garden make up to N.dollars 50 000 annually from selling the crops, which is their only source of income.
Kambangura appealed to Good Samaritans as well as the Kavango Regional Council to come to their aid.
He indicated that for now their idea is to move the vegetable plots away from the river onto higher ground, but to do that they will need a new pump and more pipes to water the crops.
Approached for comment, agriculture extension officer in the Mpungu Constituency Amos Kanime said this was one of the most productive gardens under his supervision.
He believes a cropping calendar that will ensure that they plant early and harvest before floods come could be beneficial to the project.