Namibia remains a net importer of white maize due to supply constraints faced by farmers, coupled with adverse climatic conditions. This year’s outlook on the local production of white maize from April to June 2021, shows the traditional harvesting season, is positive and some even expect a
bumper harvest due to good rains received in the early months of 2021.
However, should local demand outweighs local production, Namibia will be forced to import white maize, most likely from the country’s main trading partner, South Africa.
Namibia’s southern neighbour accounts for 65.7% and 78.8% in terms of imports and exports during the first quarter of 2021.
The High Economic Intelligence (HEI) anticipates that the importation of white maize from South Africa in the coming months will be negatively affected due to compromised road infrastructure and supply chain disruptions as a result of the recent social unrest in that country.
In HEI’s recently released white maize grain report, it is noted that the largest portion of white maize produced came from the Karst production area, recording up to 59% of
supply while the Hardap (south) production area had zero production due to severe water shortages in that area.
“The country banned the importation of white maize from 1 June to 19 October 2020 to allow producers to market white maize. As a result, local demand exceeded local supply by September 2020 due to a depletion of white maize, leading to the importation of white maize starting as early as October, sooner than anticipated,” reads the report.
It further stated that the production of white maize has increased over the past years, although considerable declines were recorded in 2013, 2015, and 2019 as a result of the recurring drought.
This was particularly felt in 2015 when the country experienced severe drought, which led to a fall in local white maize by 35% compared to the previous years.
“The domestic production of 43 948 tons of white maize accounted for nearly 30% of the domestic demand. The supply shortage for white maize is continuously covered by imports from South Africa as the country’s production does not meet the demand for white maize,” HEI stated.
The report recommended that Namibia increase investments in higher yielding seeds, expands white maize production and considers the addition of alternative cereals.