WINDHOEK - Namibia’s total maize harvest intake has been completed and although an above average total cereal harvest is expected, a small increase which would primarily reflect the impact of poor rains this season, notably in the northwest, west and southern regions.
With a total harvest of about 52 000 tonnes of white maize expected, the lack of coherent policy, capacity constraints, fragmented social programmes and weak coordination are some of the factors still hampering Namibia to ensure food security, according to Namibia’s national review report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says in its latest update that cereal production in 2018 is forecast to fall slightly, but still to exceed average. The report adds that prospects point to a total cereal crop output of some 136 000 tonnes for Namibia, slightly below 2017’s level but still above the previous five-year average.
“The moderate year-on-year decline would largely reflect the irregular and below-average rainfall that has been observed since the start of the cropping season in October 2017, with more pronounced dry weather conditions in western and southern regions.”
However, seasonal rains performed slightly better in the main cereal-producing regions of the north and, in consideration of the heavier rainfall since late February, production prospects in these areas are generally satisfactory. In the west, east and south (minor cereal-producing areas), the poor rains are expected to restrain potential cereal yields, while livestock conditions have also been adversely affected on account of poor pasture regrowth and low water supplies. Cereal imports fell in May this year to under 200 000 tonnes, significantly down on last year’s volume and the previous five-year average; the bulk of the cereal imports consist of maize and Namibia will have to import some 140 000 tonnes.
“There is a need for cross-sector and inter-sector synergies and coherence to be created, together with a national system to monitor and evaluate the implementation of policies. The current food and nutrition security policy is not addressing all aspects of food security as stipulated in SDG 2 and therefore there is no framework to guide social assistance programmes in the country. The majority of the social protection interventions are sector-specific and are not addressing cross-sectoral issues: they are neither comprehensive nor integrated,” states the report.
It underlines that poor coordination among ministries, sectors, agencies and public and private organisations limits progress towards zero hunger in Namibia. Producers in the red-fed crop areas have only planted some 5 000 hectares this season due to the late and erratic rains since November last year.
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) originally predicted a total harvest in access of 68 000 tonnes of white maize for this year but things changed drastically when the rains dried up at the most critical times last year as planting got underway. Now only some 52 000 tonnes are expected countrywide.
2018-09-18 10:14:09 | 1 years ago