Kaleb Nghishidivali

Crop Assessment expedition in the key seven community crop-producing regions from February 6th to March 3rd, 2023 by the Agro Business Information Services Unit, revealed that the rainfall pattern for the season 2022/23 was not satisfactory and it will affect public negatively, mainly in the crop-growing region.

The assessment’s main goal was to examine crop status in Namibia’s major crop-growing regions and give an early warning report on crop harvest, geographic locations of agronomic anomalies, the effects of floods, droughts, and other noteworthy events. In addition, the mission evaluated improvements in household food security, animal and grazing conditions, and water supply status.

The report read that the rainy season of 2022/2023 was unusually bad, with unprecedented rainfall patterns. The rainy season was delayed since productive rainfall was only obtained from the end of December to early January, delaying ploughing efforts and affecting crop germination in the primary crop growing regions. Poor rainfall performance was manifested by irregular rainfall patterns, frequent protracted dry periods, and high temperatures. As a result, agricultural production and pasture establishment were badly harmed in the majority of the country. Preliminary crop estimates revealed that the expected harvest would be slightly higher than the previous season’s harvest as well as the 22-year average yield.

Rendering to the statement, total national cereal production (maize, millet, sorghum, and wheat) is expected to be 175,900MT, a 5% rise over last season’s harvest of 168,200MT and 39% higher than the average production of 126,700MT. Although, with the exception of Zambezi, all major crop growing regions forecast lower harvests than last year, much of the improvement that resulted to the 5% gain comes from the commercial area.

“Family food security has generally decreased in most parts of the country, as a result of a decrease in agricultural production recorded in the 2021/2022 season due to dry spells and early cessation of rainfall. Given the current situation, where production is expected to fall in most regions, many households are concerned,” the report exposed.

Under typical conditions, food security improves beginning in March, when most seasonal crops such as squashes, melons, beans, and others become accessible and ready for use. However, due to inconsistent and sporadic rainfall, the supply of such produce is limited this season.

The bodily condition of livestock and grazing ranges from poor to good, with poor to fair conditions reported in the north central areas (Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, and Oshikoto), Kunene, and some portions of the Erongo region. Grazing and cattle conditions are fair to good elsewhere in the country.

Apart from water and poor grazing related conditions such as tick infestation, internal parasites, abortion, and plant poisoning, the report revealed that no livestock diseases of economic consequence were reported throughout the assessment period in any regions.

Photo for illustrative purposes only

April 20, 2023

Written by: