The Namibian agricultural sector performed 12.2. percent weaker in the first three months of the year on a year-to-year basis this being the fifth time running experiencing such a negative growth.
The latest data from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) show that agricultural producers were worse off in the first three months of this year compared to the last quarter of 2015. In the first three months of last year, the sector grew by minus 2.1 percent while it shrunk by 4.9 percent in the last quarter. The NSA squarely blames the drought for this. According these figures, livestock farmers went through troubled waters in the first quarter of this year. While the livestock sector grew by 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, it shrunk by 15.9 percent the same period this year.
Measured against the constant prices of 2010, the agricultural sector contributed only 2.8 percent (N$775 million) to the Namibian GDP. Figures dating back to 2008 show that the agri sector experienced some 58 percent negative growth in 19 of the 33 quarters. In three of those years – 2008, 2013 and 2015 – the agricultural sector was in the red for the whole year. Only in 2012 did the sector manage to grow positively in all four quarters.
Abattoirs exporting beef and local butcheries also saw a negative growth of 11.8 percent against a positive growth of 36.3 percent in the same period last year. Cattle exported on the hoof to South Africa and Angola plummeted with 28.9 percent after the market had already shrunk by 13.7 percent in 2015 in the same period. This was due to the stringent animal health regulations implemented in South Africa. Exports of small stock to South Africa and Angola increased by 77.7 percent in the first quarter after the market had shrunk by 37.4 percent in the same period in 2015. The crop- producing sector shrunk by 8.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared to a shrinkage of 14.5 percent in the same period in 2015.