First crop assessment indicates bumper harvest
Aggregate cereal production estimates in the Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report for March 2017 show an expected increase of at least 90% more than last season’s harvest and 20% above the average production.
Although household food security was critical up to February this year due to the impact of the drought during last year’s planting season, the latest food security forecast by the Ministry of Agriculure, Water and Forestry expects an improvement as from mid March.
The Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) in collaboration with its cooperation partners undertook its first Crop Assessment mission in the seven major communal crop-producing regions from 30 January to 24 February 2017.
Overall the purpose of the assessment was to gauge changes in household food security, livestock and pasture conditions. Following good rainfall in most parts of the north and on the basis of good crop germination reported in all the crop producing regions, both subsistence and commercial farmers are expecting a good harvest this season.
Zambezi, Oshana and Oshikoto regions as well as the commercial cultivation projects recorded an improvement in the expected harvest much better from last season; and above the average annual production. However, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kavango East and Kavango West regions, although showing an improvement in the expected harvest, better than last season, are still below the average production.
The assessment scoped crop conditions in the major crop-growing regions to produce an early warning report on geographic locations of agronomic anomalies, the effects of floods, droughts, and other significant events.
Information regarding grazing and livestock condition as well as water supply elsewhere in the country were also gathered through reports from the Agricultural Extension staff and incorporated in the main report.
The assessment team leader, Matheus Ndjodhi said that the assessments were carried out by staff members from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Ministry of Works and Transport’s Division of Meteorological Services.
While waiting for the outcome of the post-harvest Crop and Household Food Security and Vulnerability assessments, Ndjodhi said it is advisable for the meantime to keep monitoring the situation and respond where necessary; particularly in areas reported to have been affected by floods, dry spells and crop pests. Despite overall positive expectations for the imminent harvest, there are small areas in the north where the combination of detrimental natural factors has lead to lower yields.