Rainfall season delay forecast

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

FARMERS will have to adjust their plans for this year’s cropping season to take into consideration the expected delay in the onset of rains, government has said.

Tieho Mamasiane, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology, this week told a press conference that while the country was likely to receive average rains there was a likelihood that the onset of the rains would be delayed.

He said this called for a realignment of farming and related activities to accommodate the expected delays of the rains.

“Average rainfall conditions are expected countrywide for the period October to December 2017 with a likelihood of above average rainfall in the northern and eastern parts of the country during the same period,” Mr Mamasiane said at the presser which was called to provide an outlook for the rainy season from October 2017 to March 2018.

He said the southern and western parts of the country were likely to receive slightly below average rainfall for the period January to March 2018 with other parts of the country expected to receive average to above average rains.

Mr Mamasiane also said that average temperatures were anticipated for the period October 2017 to March 2018.

“Occurrences of strong winds, lighting, thunderstorms and hailstorms are common weather phenomena in summer,” he said, adding, the extreme weather events would occur with greater frequency and intensity over time.

“This calls for a better planning and alignment of productive economic activities with the prevailing and expected weather conditions,” he said.

He said his ministry would continuously advise the nation on impending weather hazards which posed potential threats to social welfare and property.

A member of the Potato Lesotho Association, Rose Thejane, said the delays and prospects of water-logging caused by above average rainfall in some parts of the country spelt disaster for them.

She said water logging would be “a tragedy because potatoes do not need a lot of water”.

“We had rotten potatoes while some did not grow last season,” Mrs Thejane said.

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