Select Page

Drought wreaks havoc: Agricultural sector grapples with drastic crop decline

Drought wreaks havoc: Agricultural sector grapples with drastic crop decline

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform unveiled a grim outlook for Namibia’s agricultural sector in its recent “Crop Prospects, Food Security, and Drought Situation Report” released on Monday.

The report paints a troubling picture of diminished crop forecasts across communal and commercial farming regions.

Preliminary estimates reveal a stark reduction in anticipated harvests, with national cereal production plummeting to a mere 72,150 metric tons (MT). This represents a staggering 53% decline compared to the previous season’s output of 153,012 MT.

Particularly hard-hit is the commercial sector, with production projected at only 35,200 MT, a significant 68% drop from last season’s 111,000 MT.

The report attributes these declines to the devastating effects of drought in rain-fed areas and a notable decrease in maize and wheat cultivation. However, there is a silver lining in the form of improved harvest forecasts for maize and wheat in irrigation green schemes, which have seen a 24 and 63 percent increase compared to last season, respectively.

Households, especially in southern, eastern, western, and central areas, are feeling the pinch as depleted food stocks from previous harvests force reliance on market purchases and drought-relief assistance.

Livestock farming, a crucial livelihood in these areas, is under severe strain due to poor pasture conditions exacerbated by persistent drought.

To address the crisis, the government has initiated drought relief measures through the Livestock Support Programme, including incentives for livestock marketing, grazing land leases, transport assistance, and fodder subsidies for affected farmers.

Furthermore, the report highlights water accessibility challenges, evidenced by declining water levels in primary dams and reservoirs. Currently, dam capacity stands at 55%, a notable decrease from 69.7% recorded during the same period last year.

In response to these findings, the report proposes interventions such as extending drought relief measures to food-insecure households, investing in water infrastructure, and supporting agricultural initiatives to mitigate the drought’s impact on food production.


About The Author

The Staff Reporter

The staff reporter is the most senior in-house Economist reporter. This designation is frequently used by the editor for articles submitted by third parties, especially businesses, but which had to be rewritten completely. - Ed.