Maize Sectors See Production Increase

The Namibian white maize sector has since 2004 increased its production three-fold with the record harvest of 72 438 tonnes of white maize in the 201213 season in direct succession to the record harvest of 63 228 tonnes of the previous year while an expected 68 000 will be harvested at the end of July this year.

In his annual report, tabled in the National Assembly last week, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), Christoph Brock, says the board and the nation can be proud of these achievements. “When compared with the averages of the 14 years prior to 2004, the true magnitude of the tremendous improvement – more than treble production – of the Namibian white maize production industry becomes clear. The total consumption of white maize hovers around 120 000 tonnes per year, showing that the domestic production has, for the first time, now reached the 60 percent mark of domestic consumption,” he states.

, Kobus van Graan of the NAB says in his annual chairperson’s report for 201213 that the results as presented in the report are testament to the fact that the NAB is fulfilling its key objectives. This is to promote the agronomic industry and to facilitate the production, processing, storage and marketing of controlled products in Namibia. “Significant improvement in horticulture, wheat and maize production has gradually been achieved by introducing specific product category measures. In this regard, the introduction of the Namibian Market Share Promotion mechanism has reached an all-time high, where 39 percent of Namibian requirements for horticultural products were produced locally during the review period. Similarly, the pre-planting price mechanism for maize and wheat resulted in another all-time record where more than 72 000 tonnes of maize and 15 000 tonnes of wheat were produced during this period,” he says.

Van Graan adds that the NAB is hopeful about the introduction of special measures to specifically promote the domestic production of potatoes and onions in the future, and the process to reach agreement on the required measures between the different stakeholders has been activated.

Brock reports that horticultural production has seen positive increases during the period under review, with the gross national import substitution rate now at 29 percent from a mere five percent eight years ago. “The Board has identified potatoes and onions as the two crops with the highest potential for increased national production. Therefore, the Special Potato and Onion Scheme was implemented, which should provide a 100 percent secure marketing environment for those commodities, and this year should allow us to harvest the fruits of this new scheme,” he notes. The NAB will consider adding horticultural commodities such as tomatoes and carrots to the scheme.

Brock further says the NAB is also looking forward to a boost in the decentralised marketing of fresh produce through the two new horticultural produce hubs in Ondangwa and Rundu. “While it has been a good production year for mahangu, the quantity of mahangu formally marketed remained constant at under 1 000 tonnes,” he concludes.

Source : New Era