Crop Harvest Reflects Huge Increase

National cereal aggregate production is forecast at 136,700 tonnes, reflecting an increase of 68 percent higher when compared to last season’s harvest and nine percent above the average production. Much of this improvement comes from the commercial areas where a bumper harvest has been reported, according to the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) Report released yesterday.

Crop estimates showed an improvement in the 20132014 harvest season, better than last season, but still below average for the communal producing areas, while commercial areas recorded a bumper harvest. Analysis on the 20132014 crop harvest estimates indicated that, most of the communal crop producing regions recorded a better crop harvest this year which is significantly higher than last season, but still below the average harvest. The below average harvest is mainly due to a general poor rainfall performance coupled with American Bollworms. According to farmers, poor rainfall performance was seen in the forms of sporadic, erratic and insufficient rainfall in the first half of the season as well as serious prolonged dry spells in January and most of February. Maize harvest in the commercial areas showed a tremendous increase in harvest which is greatly higher than last season.

The households’ food security situation is reported to have improved, following a recent main harvest since the beginning of May this year. Most parts of the country reported good grazing conditions except the north central and north western part of the country, where fair to poor grazing conditions are reported following poor rainfall performance in these areas. At the time of this assessment, no major livestock disease outbreaks were reported. The second Crop Assessment mission was undertaken in the six communal crop producing regions from May 5 to June 4. The main purpose of this mission was to assess and estimate the 20132014 crop production in the communal crop-growing regions of Namibia and provide early warning report on geographic locations of agronomic anomalies, the effects of floods, droughts, and other significant events. Moreover, the mission also looks at the household food security in terms of availability and access. The mission was conducted in collaboration with the Meteorological Service of Namibia of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications. Since the situation may change, it should be noted herein that, this report presents the results of the assessment that took place during the period under review.

Much of the information in this report was obtained through interviews during the crop assessment mission conducted in the Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto regions by the crop assessment team.

Based on the findings of the crop assessment in the abovementioned regions as well as information from the commercial sector, through the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), the country’s aggregate coarse grain production (white maize, pearl millet, sorghum and wheat) for this season is estimated at 125,000 tonnes. This consists of 73,400 tonnes of white maize, 44,100 tonnes of pearl millet, 4,100 tonnes of sorghum and 14,900 tonnes of wheat. Although, much of this increase comes from the commercial areas, the communal areas have also recorded a significant harvest better than last season.

Pearl millet production this season showed a substantial increase of 79 percent above last season’s harvest, but yet 26 percent below the average production. Similarly, sorghum harvest showed an increase of over 90 percent above last season’s harvest, but yet is 50 percent below the average harvest. Moreover, maize harvest in the communal areas (Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions) showed an increase of 113 percent above last season’s harvest, but is about 27 percent below the average harvest. Maize harvest in the commercial areas showed a tremendous increase in harvest of about 83 percent higher than last season and 72 percent above the average production. With regards to household food security, the situation in the northern communal crop producing regions is reported to have improved following a recent main harvest in May this year. However, this improvement, according to farmers, is still below the average production, but by far better than last season’s poor harvest. According to the interviewed farmers, the current harvest is expected to last between December and next harvest in the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, Oshana and Oshikoto regions. Farmers in Ohangwena and Omusati regions indicated that their current harvest is expected to last between September and November this year.

Source : New Era