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Farmers across Botswana have been cautioned of the anticipated weather phenomenal El Nino which is associated with higher temperatures and lower rainfall, that is likely to affect crop yields. The phenomenal weather forecast is anticipated by the Department of Metrological Services for this current seasonal forecast which started from October 2023 and will end in March 2024.
With the EL Nino weather forecast being anticipated over the Southern Hemisphere this rainy season, Principal Metrology Officer from the Department of Metrological Services, Maureen Oabile has indicated that Chobe, Ngamiland, Kgalagadi and Gantsi will experience normal to below average rainfall. According to her, the Western parts of the country will receive the most of EL Nino as the weather will be particularly dry.
In an interview, Oabile explained that the weather forecast does not necessary mean that there will not be any rainfall at all but noted that it will be experienced at lower levels. “The forecast does not mean there will be no rainfall, drought may be metrological or agricultural, for instance this previous rainy season we experienced an agricultural drought but there was no metrological one,” Maureen said.
She explained that the agricultural drought may be in cases of a prolonged dry spell during the rainy season leading to drying of crops.
The Principal Metrology Officer has since advised farmers to plough drought resistant crops such as sorghum to avoid to curb the possible shortage of food supply.
She urged them to prepare their soil well in advance to ensure that it keeps the moisture as soon as the first rains start. Oabile further advised farmers to avoid ploughing crops which require a lot of water such as maize.
She further urged farmers who are able to provide irrigation for their crops to do so, so as to promote food security in the country despite the devastating effects that come with global warming.
“Farmers should work hand in hand with their district crop officers during the ploughing season to ensure that they plough the right crops, use the right seeds which are resistant to drought. As the Met Services we work hand in hand with the crops department to assist where we can,” Maureen said.
Maureen indicated that with Climate change being the core change in various sectors across the world, there is need for mindset change on how things are done emphasizing that with the agricultural sector, farmers should practice irrigation to ensure that there is food security.