Report Notes Slight Delay in Rain

The 20142015 agricultural season saw a slight delay in the start of the rainfall season.

The conclusion and recommendations of the latest The National Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) concludes in its report. The normal start of the rain season is usually from mid October. At the time of the NEWFIU assessment in November, most of the regions had not yet received productive rains. However, by the end of the assessment and early December, most parts of the country were reported to have received good showers. Basic inputs and services are in place in most communal crop producing regions as the 20142015 agricultural season begun. Improved seeds for pearl millet, sorghum and maize were reported to be available on time and enough quantity in Zambezi, Kavango West and Kavango East regions. However, the north central regions indicated that, they have only received about a quarter of their annual seed requirements.

Grazing conditions in various parts of the regions was said to have deteriorated during the course of the dry season and was reported to range between fair to poor. However, according to farmers, this season is much better than last year which saw many farmers losing many of their livestock due to drought. This year, there were few cases of livestock deaths related to poor grazing condition as compared to last year. Nevertheless, the most likely scenario is that grazing conditions were expected to improve as most parts of the regions are reported to have received some good showers lately.

Household food security is weakening as hunger season progresses. According to most households interviewed, last season’s harvest is weakening and is currently being supplemented with market purchases to make it last longer. Households noted that, with market purchase to supplement, their little harvest is likely to last up to December 2014 or January 2015. The main purpose of this assessment was to assess the overall agricultural inputs situation at household and regional levels and to find out to what extent farmers were prepared for the 201415 crop season in terms of land preparation. Moreover, the mission assessed changes in household food security, marketing of the 20132014 harvest, livestock and pasture conditions. The assessment team visited the regional councils and was briefed by the Regional Council Management team that provided information on current household food security as well as progress on the agricultural season, among other things. The assessment team proceeded to the regional agricultural extension offices where they were further briefed by the chief agricultural scientific officers and chief agricultural extension technicians before proceeding to constituencies in each of the northern communal crop producing regions. Information on each constituency was obtained from both primary (field observation and farmers’ interviews) and secondary sources (agricultural extension officials, regional councillors, NGOs, farmer’s organisations, Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), Directorate of Veterinary Services, local traders, traditional authorities, etc).

During the field visit to each constituency, the teams were briefed by an agricultural extension technician who provided an overview of the agricultural situation in view of the upcoming crop season. The briefing meetings were followed by field visits to three randomly selected households in each constituency for an interview. Interviews were also held with the formal and informal traders working in the area.

Source : New Era