A 72-year-old pensioner, Samuel Amunyela, resident of Elombe in Onayena constituency in Oshikoto region is among the subsistence rice farmers able to sustain his large family with proceeds from rice farming that he also uses for his own consumption.
Amunyela, who retired from Rossing Uraniun Mine in 2010, became a full-time rice farmer. The pensioner has a passion for farming and that he says prompted him to grow rice, a practice that is uncommon among communal farmers especially in the northern regions of the country. “It all started in 2018, when I bought bales of hay for my livestock at a local pharmacy and then found a string of rice seeds in the bales.
These caught my attention, and with the little knowledge, I planted the seeds that germinated and later produced a bountiful yield,” said Amunyela. Although rice farming requires plenty of water, Amunyela sees this as not being a problem because the area where he plants the rice is surrounded by stagnant rainwater. With the little knowledge he has, he grows the rice in the water at one of his ponds. “I am happy as I have harvested rice that equals to a 50kg bag, and even though it is not meant for marketing yet, it is sufficient for my family consumption and the neighbours,” said the father of 10. Amunyela joined the Rossing Uranium in 1979 as a machine operator and later moved to procurement as an administrative officer until his retirement 11 years back. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform through its Directorate of Agriculture Production Extension and Engineering Services assists farmers with advisory services on crop production, horticulture and livestock production where they train and monitor farmers activities. “We are working with farmers mostly on crop production as well as livestock farming in order to alleviate them from poverty, especially people that are hustling with the backyard gardens. We mostly assist them with seeds and other necessities at our disposal,” said Esther Namushinga, an agricultural technician in the ministry of agriculture.
Currently, Amunyela uses the traditional method of threshing and appealed to Good Samaritans to assist him to acquire a threshing machine. He also urged other villagers to make use of the available resources such as land and rainwater at their disposal to produce food for themselves and the market.