Govt silos nearly empty at end of 2020

22 February 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Most government silos were nearly empty by the end of December last year, with the stock at only 14% of the total capacity.

This is according to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation Report for December that was just released by the agriculture ministry.

The report says the National Strategic Food Reserve (NSFR), which has a capacity of 22 900 tonnes, was restocked between May and October last year.

“As at 31 December 2020, the NSFR stocks were very low, representing only 14.05% of the overall holding capacity,” the report says.

This consisted of about 1 183 tonnes of white maize at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region, 2 033 tonnes of white maize at Rundu in the Kavango-East Region and 1 417 tonnes of pearl millet at Okongo in the Ohangwena Region.

The silos at Omuthiya, Oshikoto Region, and Tsandi, Omusati Region, were empty at that stage.



Not selling

The report says although many crop farmers had a bumper harvest last season, they were hesitant to sell grain because they were still recovering from the 2019 drought and were uncertain as to whether 2020/2021 would be a good season.

“Moreover, farmers were also unhappy with the price they were given for their grain of N$4.95 per kilogram, which according to them was too low, citing high production costs for their produce.”

Farmers suggested a price of at least N$10 per kilogram for their grain would be fair to them.



Food security

Household food security remained satisfactory in most regions of the country, following significant improvements in agricultural production last season, according to the reportAt the time of the assessment in the major communal crop-producing regions, the majority of households said their harvests were enough to sustain them till the next harvest in May this year.

The assessment was carried out in the seven northern communal crop-producing regions from 7 November to 4 December.

The main purpose of this assessment was to assess the situation at household and regional level and to find out whether farmers were ready for the 2020/2021 cropping season in terms of land preparation.

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