Cereal production shortfalls expected

Fillemon Nangonya

Despite initial favourable conditions, adverse weather and tropical cyclones have impacted cereal production in the southern African region, including Namibia, in 2023.

According to the Agribank Monthly Market Watch for August 2023, issued by spokesperson Fillemon Nangonya, the harvesting of this year’s summer cereal crops is nearly complete, while the minor winter wheat crop is expected to be harvested later this month and October.

According to the ‘Crop Prospects and Food Situation’ report, southern Africa’s cereal production was expected to be at an above-average level of 40 million tonnes.

“Following the initial favourable rainfall at the end of 2022 which facilitated planting activities, dry weather conditions in March and April 2023 adversely affected cereal crops in southern Angola and across northern Namibia,” the report states.

This has caused extensive crop wilting and reducing yields.

Namibia, however, expects yield total cereals of above the five-year average in 2023, mainly resulting from the increased harvest from irrigation maize production.

The report says tightened global energy supply due to the production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia have caused a sharp increase in the price of international brent crude, jumping by 8% to US$86,2/barrel in August.

These developments have led to Namibia increasing its petrol and diesel prices this month.

With the already strained consumer and high agriculture production cost, higher fuel prices would add to the pressure.
In addition, overall inflation stood at 4,7% in August – lower than the 7,3% recorded in the prior year.

Despite the moderate inflation figures, food inflation remains high at 10% in August due to a double-digit rise in vegetable, meat, and processed food prices.

Global events, especially geopolitical tension and high energy prices, continue to adversely affect various sectors, and the agriculture sector is no exception.

To safeguard food security, stakeholders should stand together to foster and create a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain, the report says.

According to Agribank, the livestock sector continues to record improvements as marketing numbers increase.

The overall number of cattle marketed in July 2023 stood at 27 486 head of cattle, a 9% improvement compared to 25 190 recorded in July 2022.

Drought-driven marketing, coupled with favourable producer prices led to increased slaughtering activities, rising to 11 909 head of cattle in July 2023, compared to 9 597 in July 2022.

Weaner exports increased from 12 482 animals in June this year to 15 577 animals exported during July.

South African weaner prices remained higher than in Namibia, averaging N$33,75/kg in July 2023, bringing the gap between Namibian weaner prices and South African weaner prices to N$7,33/kg.

Agribank says sheep marketed increased drastically by 37% to 75 827 in July 2023, from 55 304 reported in July 2022.

On a yearly basis, slaughtering activities climbed by 8%, and the export of live animals increased by 46%.

Similarly, goat marketing increased by 18,4% to 18 555 in July 2023, compared to July 2022.

Of this total, 99,8% (18 527 goats) were exported live to South Africa, mainly to the traditional Kwa-Zulu Natal market.
– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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