Windhoek-Despite a delay in the onset of the 2016/2017 rainy season and the generally poor rainfall performance experienced earlier, many farmers have said they recorded good agricultural production this year.
According to farmers, this improvement brought relief and significant recovery to their ailing agricultural production, which was hit by devastating drought the past two successive seasons.
These indications are contained in the latest Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report released in June.
The main findings of this assessment are that most parts of the country received normal to above normal rainfall, resulting in significant improvement in agricultural production.
The assessment noted that the crop producing regions recorded a good crop harvest, which according to producers is much better by far than the previous two seasons.
The Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) in collaboration with its cooperating partners undertook its second crop assessment mission in the seven major communal crop-producing regions as from May 8 to June 5.
The main purpose of this assessment was to assess and quantify the 2017 crop harvest in the major crop-growing regions of Namibia and provide an early warning report on geographic locations of agronomic anomalies, the effects of floods, droughts, and other significant events.
According to most households interviewed, the current harvest is significant and is expected to sustain households through to the next harvest in May next year.
However, the north-east, particularly the Zambezi Region, has suffered excessive rainfall and floods resulting in some crop fields being flooded.
Furthermore, the north-central regions, especially Omusati, Oshana, the western part of Ohangwena and the extreme south-western part of Oshikoto, are reported to have been affected by floodwater which came because of heavy rains received in the southern part of Angola.
The report states that despite a delay in the onset of the 2016/2017 rainy season, rainfall conditions are reported to have improved significantly, resulting in good and above normal rainfall received in the greater part of the country.
The farmers reported that productive rainfall was only realised as from end of November to early December as opposed to a normal start for the season in early November.
The report further reported that some parts of the country, especially the north-central, north-west and south-east were affected by poor rainfall performance in the first half of the season stretching to early February this year.
The report indicates the revised crop estimates indicate a substantial improvement in the crop harvest, which is much better by far than last season’s harvest in all the regions.
Aggregate cereal estimates in the report showed that the country is expecting an increase of at least 84 percent in last season’s harvest and 16 percent above average production.
The report also reveals that household food security is reported to have improved following a significant improvement in agricultural production recorded this year.
It was noted that the majority of households were dependent on the current production, which according to farmers is sufficient to sustain them till the next harvest in May next year.
The report highlights that an outbreak of lumpy skin disease was reported in the north-central regions, Omaheke, Erongo and Otjozondjupa regions.
At the time of this assessment, it indicates that the Directorate of Veterinary Services was in the process of mobilizing resources to procure vaccines to respond to the situation.
The report further noted that grazing conditions have improved significantly in most parts of the country, except in some few areas which were affected by poor rainfall, mainly in the //Karas and Erongo regions.
For areas affected by poor agricultural production that resulted from poor rainfall performance, the regional council in the affected areas are advised to monitor the situation and respond accordingly.