GIEWS Country Brief: Namibia 15October2018


Weather forecasts indicate favourable rains during last months of 2019, benefitting planting of 2020 cereal crops

Cereal production in 2019 estimated well belowaverage due to extreme rainfall deficits

Prices of maize meal generally stable in 2019

Food security conditions of communal farming households worsened in 2019 due to impact of drought conditions on agricultural production

Rains forecast to be favourable during the last months of 2019, benefitting planting of 2020 cereal crops

Land preparation and planting of the 2020 cereal crops, mainly maize and millet, to be harvested in May and June 2020, are expected to start from November. Current weather forecasts indicate a high likelihood of average to aboveaverage precipitation between November and December in the main cerealproducing areas of the country, located in the north and northcentral areas. If these weather conditions occur, it could lead to an expansion in the total area planted with 2020 cereal crops and benefit early crop growth.

Dry weather conditions severely affected cereal production in 2019

The 2019 cereal crops were harvested in June and aggregate production is estimated at a well belowaverage level of 60 000 tonnes. Erratic and well belowaverage rainfall amounts were the main cause of the production decline. The unfavourable weather conditions affected the entire country, but especially the important cerealproducing northern regions of Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto, where cumulative seasonal rainfall volumes were between 60 and 70 percent below the average. As a result of the extreme rainfall deficits, a drought was declared by the Head of State in May 2019.

The poor season and consequently severe water shortages also affected rangeland conditions, resulting in a deterioration of livestock body conditions and an increase in mortality rates. According to recent estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture, over 60 000 livestock have perished in 2019, with northwestern and southern provinces being the most affected.

Cereal import requirements estimated at aboveaverage level in 2019/20

Reflecting the steep production decline in 2019, the cereal import requirement for the 2019/20 marketing year (May/April) is estimated to rise to 300 000 tonnes, an increase of about 8 percent compared to the fiveyear average.

Import requirements of maize, mostly sourced from South Africa, are estimated at 180 000 tonnes, 20 percent higher compared to the fiveyear average. Imports of wheat are estimated at 95 000 tonnes, 20 percent above the reduced quantity imported in the previous year, but still slightly below the average.

Prices of maize meal generally stable in 2019

Prices of maize meal have been generally stable in 2019, mostly reflecting wellsupplied markets by increased imports from South Africa, which have sufficiently compensated the reduced harvest in 2019. As of August 2019, average prices of maize meal were close or slightly below their yearearlier values.

Food security conditions deteriorated in 2019

According to earlier reports from the national Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC), about 290 000 people are estimated to be food insecure and in need of food assistance during the October 2019 to March 2020 period. This number represents a 12 percent yearonyear increase. The heightened food insecurity situation is mainly the result of the reduced agricultural output in 2019. Communal farming households located in the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions are among the most affected, as their food supplies for income generation and own consumption were sharply reduced by the dry weather conditions.

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Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations