As farmers were looking forward to the 2015/2016 rainy season given the devastating drought experienced the previous rainy season, the country noted yet another period of below average and poor rainfall, which has affected the recovery of agricultural production.
Since the start of the 2015/2016 rainy season, rainfall has been poor and was characterised by sporadic and insufficient rain patterns with prolonged dry spells in mid-January and February.
These observations were corroborated by the Namibia Meteorological Service (NMS) report that depict a trend of below normal rainfall throughout the country.
According to the latest rainfall report of the NMS, since the start of the 2015/2016 rainy season most parts of the country received below normal rainfall for the period October 2015 to February 2016.
However, Rundu, Windhoek and Mururani received normal to near normal rainfall, while Gibeon and Keetmanshoop in the south received above normal rainfall due to heavy rains in January.
Regarding the cumulative seasonal rainfall received since October 2015 to February 2016, the highest was in Rundu in the north-east where 320mm of rain fell, followed by Windhoek in the central area with 240mm.
Keetmanshoop in the south recorded a cumulative 160mm of rain. Elsewhere in the country, about 80mm of rain fell.
Based on the assessment in the northern major communal crop-producing regions, it was observed that most parts of these regions had moderate to good rainfall in December to early January, resulting in good crop germinations. However, rain was poor as from mid-January and the situation worsened in February where prolonged dry spells were prominent, resulting in the wilting of both crops and grazing.
Poor rainfall did not only affect agricultural production, but also water supply, particularly for the livestock that are heavily dependent on the surface/rainfall water for consumption. Most water catchments such as earth dams, ponds and oshanas have little or no water because of inadequate inflow received this season.