Slight decline in crop harvest
However, this is still 23% above average production.
The revised aggregate crop estimates indicate that the country has recorded 151 723 metric tonnes for the 2021/2022 cropping season, which is slightly below the previous season’s harvest of 153 028 tonnes and above the average annual production of 123 710 tonnes.
This is according to the crop prospects and food security situation report for July, which was just released by the agriculture ministry.
The main purpose of this assessment is to quantify the 2022 crop harvest in the major crop-growing regions of Namibia.
According to it, most crop-producing areas recorded below-normal harvests as a result of the delayed onset of 2021/2022 rainfall season, while prolonged dry spells were reported in some regions.
"Although good crop germinations were observed earlier in the season, the rainfall ended earlier than expected, and this had a major negative effect on the crop harvest this season."
Excessive, erratic rainfall
The report said in communal areas (Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions), maize production showed a substantial reduction of 31% below the previous season’s harvest from 11.5 tonnes to eight tonnes, but it was still 20% above the average production of 6.6 tonnes.
Meanwhile, pearl millet production showed a decrease of 17% below average of 53.8 tonnes and 19% less than last season’s harvest - from 55.2 tonnes to 44.7 tonnes.
Sorghum production indicated a significant decrease of 25% below last season’s harvest from 8.2 tonnes to 6.1 tonnes, but 3% above average production of six tonnes.
"The reduction is mainly due to excessive rainfall in some areas in the north eastern regions, erratic rainfall observed mainly in the north-central regions coupled with prolonged dry spells," it said.
In the commercial areas, maize harvests showed an increase of 12% more than the previous season’s harvest - up from 66.6 to 74.4 tonnes, which was 57% above the average production of 47.3 tonnes.
"It is important to note that 72% (53 382 tonnes) of the maize production total of 74 437 tonnes in the commercial areas came from irrigated production, while 28% (21 056 tonnes) came from rain-fed production," the report noted.
The increase in maize production in the commercial areas is attributed to a good harvest and an increase in planted areas.
Wheat is a winter crop that is only produced commercially, and production thereof is ongoing. However, for the purpose of national aggregate and analysis, harvest estimates for 2021 were used to develop the 2022 estimates. Therefore, wheat production is estimated at 18 489 tonnes, which is 61% above last season’s harvest of 11 498 metric tonnes and 85% above the average production of 10 013 tonnes.
According to the report, the national total planted area for cereal coarse grain for the 2021/2022 cropping season is estimated at 349 804 hectares, reflecting an increase of 8% more than the previous season, when it was 324 400 and 10% above the average planted area of about 317 600 hectares.
"Much of the increase is mainly from Kavango East and Kavango West, as well as from the commercial area due to the good rainfall performance experienced in those areas during the 2021/2022 rainfall season."