140 000-tonne grain shortfall

22 February 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Namibia faces a grain shortfall of 140 000 tonnes by the end of April.

This is according to the latest Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation Report, which says that northern communal crop-producing regions noted a significant delay in harvesting last year because of poor rainfall in the first half of the season.

The report, released by the agriculture ministry, is an assessment done in the seven northern communal crop-producing regions for the period from 7 November to 4 December last year.

The main purpose was to assess the overall agricultural inputs situation and to find out whether farmers were ready for the 2020/2021 cropping season in terms of land preparation.



Late rains

The country experienced poor rainfall in the first half of the 2020/2021 rainy season (October to December 2020).

By the end of November, no significant rainfall had been received, the report said.

Nevertheless, by early December, most parts of the country had received moderate to good showers and crop cultivation had started.

Basic inputs and services are in place in the major communal crop-producing regions in terms of subsidised and free seed, fertiliser, and subsidised ploughing and weeding services.



Imports

According to the report, the total supply of grains in Namibia for the 2019/2020 marketing season (May 2019 to 2020) stood at 215 700 tonnes, while the country was expected to consume 321 600 tonnes.

That left a shortfall of 140 900 tonnes that would have to be covered by commercial imports.

By the end of December, the country had imported 29 4 00 tonnes of cereals. That consisted of 15 100 tonnes of wheat, 14 000 tonnes of white maize and 500 tonnes of pearl millet (mahangu).

The imports resulted in a surplus of 127 100 tonnes of cereal.

Grazing conditions remained fairly good in most parts of the country following good rainfall received last season.

In most areas, pastures ranged from poor to good, but the southern and western regions (//Karas, Hardap, Erongo, Kunene) were worrisome due to poor rainfall last season.

No harvest estimates for this season were given.

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