Floods swamp Kalimbeza rice project

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WINDHOEK - The Kalimbeza rice project has been submerged following the recent escalation in heavy flooding in the Caprivi Region, which has also left many villagers displaced.

Speaking to New Era, Patrick Kompeli, the agricultural research technician in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry explained that the project has since last week been swamped by flooding. “The variety of Supa is taller and it might survive. Erga is totally submerged although we managed to harvest only six hectares (ha) out of the 19 ha we planted. We harvested Erga prematurely, while it is under water, to avoid losing the entire variety,” said Kompeli.

Meanwhile, the Angola variety, which was planted on a 4-ha piece of land, was salvaged since it was harvested before heavy flooding started.

Kompeli is hopeful they will get some harvest from the Supa variety, because it will only be ready by April and by that time the water might have subsided. “It is likely the project will experience a poor harvest this year.” Kompeli said they planted half a hectare of Angola, 19 ha of Erga and 16 ha of the Supa variety of rice.

Kabbe Constituency Councillor, Raphael Mbala, on Friday said the relocation of people affected by the flooding should have started on Monday already, since some camps have been de-bushed and are ready to accommodate those affected by the floods.

“We are busy making all the necessary arrangements in the camps such as sanitation. These days the Zambezi River is coming down. Today (Friday) the river stands at 6.21 metres (m) compared to past days where it rose to 6.33 m. At least it is giving us a chance to finish so that evacuation can start next week,” said the regional councillor.

The displaced families will be moved to 14 relocation camps. Mbala also said school-going children are still attending classes, although some have set up temporary accommodation facilities around the school grounds, while others are still commuting from their homes using dugout canoes.