Namibia records bumper crop harvest

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ONAMUNDINDI, 04 January 2017 - President Hage Geingob cultivates the crop field of Mateus Shitana Shiilonga at the Onamundindi village in the Omusati Region's Ogongo Constituency during the launch of Operation Tulongeni, which is an initiative aimed at encouraging crop production in the country. (Photo by Mathias Nanghanda) NAMPA

Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-According to the latest June 2017 Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report, production in the commercial area has showed a considerable improvement. This is with 53 percent higher than last season’s harvest and 59 percent above the average production.

The Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) and its cooperating partners undertook its second crop assessment mission in the seven major communal crop-producing regions from May 8 to June 5.

The main purpose of the assessment was to assess and quantify the 2017 crop harvest in the major crop-growing regions of the country to provide an early warning report on geographic locations of agronomic anomalies, the effects of floods, droughts, and other significant events.

The report shows that much of this improvement is because of a recovery and good harvest received from dry land maize producers. It notes that dry land maize area received good rainfall this season compared to the severe drought conditions experienced the last two successive seasons.

Pearl millet production showed a significant improvement of 197 percent last season, and two percent above the average production.

According to the report, much of this improvement comes from the regions of Oshana and Oshikoto, where above-average production or bumper harvest was reported. Similarly, the report indicates that sorghum production has also improved remarkably improvement with 85 percent of last season’s poor harvest but 63 percent below average production.

According to farmers, much of the below average production is attributed to seed shortages for sorghum, which was experienced in the beginning of the season. Wheat is a winter crop and production thereof is ongoing.

For national aggregate and analysis, estimates for the 2015/2016 were used to develop the 2016/2017 estimates. “Most parts of the country reported good grazing conditions following the good rainfall received almost throughout the country this season. According to farmers, grazing has improved considerably and was noted to range between fair and very good,” the report states.

In the northeastern regions (Zambezi, Kavango east and west) good to very good grazing was widely reported in the area. Equally, fair to good grazing conditions were reported in the north central regions (Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto) and Erongo.

However, the report notes that there are pockets in communal areas in the Erongo Region with poor grazing, especially partly Otjimbingwe, Spitzkoppe, Omatjete, Uis and Usakos areas. Grazing conditions in the //Karas Region were reported to range between fair and poor, but according to farmers it is better than last year.

The report highlights Aus and Bethanie as the most affected areas in the region, with very poor grazing conditions. However, grazing in Keetmanshoop, Karasburg, Helmeringhausen, Berseba, Aroab and Koës areas is still good as a result of good rainfall received in these areas. The Hardap Region reported fair to poor grazing conditions with Maltahöhe area severely affected.

The livestock body condition in most regions was shown to have improved significantly, because of good grazing. Livestock in the northeast regions (Zambezi, Kavango East and West) were reported to be in a good to very good conditions, while in the north central regions livestock body condition is said to be good.

Down south, the report shows a larger part of //Karasburg is affected by poor grazing, with overall livestock body condition ranging from good to fair. At the time of the assessment, many farmers were noted to be supplementing their livestock with fodder and licks, especially in the areas of Aus and Warmbad.

It was further reported that most livestock from the Warmbad commercial area were moved to northeast for better grazing conditions. Moreover, the livestock conditions in Hardap Region were rated between good and fair, but livestock in Maltahöhe were said to be poor because of poor grazing. Livestock in the Erongo were also reported to be in good condition.

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