• March 30th, 2020

Cereal imports hit 165 400 metric tons

WINDHOEK - Since the start of the 2019/2020 marketing season in May last year, imports for cereal grains were received to cover the domestic shortfall. 

By end of November 2019, Namibia imported a combined cereals of 165 400 metric tons, consisting of 71 900 metric tons of wheat, 91 500 metric tons of white maize and 2 000 metric tons of pearl millet. 
The imports have also resulted in a surplus of 39 700 metric tons of wheat. However, there is still uncovered shortfall for both maize and pearl millet of 34 700 metric tons and 65 500 metric tons respectively. 

The shortfall under normal circumstances is expected to be covered through additional commercial imports in the forms of either flour or grains.  
This information is contained in the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Situation report prepared during December 2019.

The government also procured about 22 metric tonnes of pearl millet seeds and is expected to be distributed to the entire communal crop producing regions this season. The north central and the Zambezi regions will each get three metric tons while both Kavango East and West will receive 2.4 metric tons and 1.6 metric tons respectively. 

Moreover, Kunene region will also receive 1.4 metric tons of pearl millet seed. 
For the north central regions, lack of basal dressing fertilisers was reported as most regions only have a carryover stock of top-dressing fertilisers. 

Nevertheless, the regions indicated that, seeds and cultivation services are in place, and only waiting for productive rainfall as they continue with cultivation activities. 

The regions reported that seed quantity received this season is less than last season, but according to the agricultural extension officials, is likely to be sufficient especially the fact that, many farmers were able to retain good quality seeds from last season’s harvest.  

However, the report shows that due to the limited resources, quantities of the subsidised inputs and services may be insufficient especially for the seeds where there is a high demand, particularly in light of the drought conditions experienced last season. Many farmers are reported to be in need of cereal and non-cereal seeds, following a crop failure last season, which incapacitate them, to retain sufficient and good quality seeds. In the Zambezi, agricultural inputs and ploughing services were noted to be in place and are said to be reasonably enough to kick-start the season. However, the region is still waiting for basal dressing fertiliser as at the time of this report only top-dressing fertiliser was in stock.    

Government still has subsidies in place, aimed at enabling crop farmers in the communal areas to afford agricultural inputs and services thereby increasing food production. All the subsidy services are limited to a maximum of 5 hectares per farming household. This includes the seed and fertilisers that was introduced in the communal crop producing regions under Dry-land Crop Production Program (DCPP), which allows farmers to buy seed and fertilizers at 50 percent and 60 percent subsidy respectively.  The fertilisers subsidised prices for a 50kg bag is N$232.40, while other fertilisers range between N$210.75 and N$151.16. The ploughing subsidy services is also available which allows farmers to afford ploughing services from the private tractors and draught animals. Private tractor subsidy is N$350 per hectare and draught animal subsidy is N$250 per hectare ploughed.   Weeding services is another subsidy given to farmers during the weeding activities whereby the government pays an amount of N$250 per hectare weeded.  “Due to limited funds available for the ploughing and weeding services, only few farmers will benefit from these subsidies and the regions may reduce the five hectares given to farmers based on the demand in that area,” the report indicates. 

Government also offers tractor subsidy services where farmers are also required to register for the such services and pay an amount of N$500 per hectare for a combination of planting and fertilising or ripping and planting. 

Moreover, the report shows if a farmer would only want a single service such as planting, fertilizing, ripping or ploughing, then one has to pay an amount of N$250 per hectare. 

Albertina Nakale
2020-01-16 07:37:36 | 2 months ago

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