Namibia to produce 72 150t of cereal

Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata says this year’s aggregated national cereal production of maize, millet, sorghum and wheat is estimated at 72 150 metric tonnes.

This is 53% lower than last season’s harvest of 153 012 metric tonnes, Nthituwamata says.

This data is contained in the ministry’s March 2024 report on crop prospects, food security and the drought situation, released in collaboration with the Namibia Statistics Agency, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The crops and household food security monitoring assessment was carried out in the seven major northern communal crop producing regions from 12 February to 11 March 2024.

In the report, Nghituwamata noted that preliminary crop estimates indicated a drastic reduction in the forecasted harvest, with all crop producing regions in the communal areas expected below last season’s harvest.

“In addition, the commercial area is projected to record a harvest of 35 200 metric tonnes, indicating 68% less than last season’s production of 111 000 metric tonnes, only contributing 49% to the national cereal production,” Nghituwamata said.

She attributed the decline to the devastating drought experienced in rain-fed areas, and the substantial reduction in the numbers of farmers who have planted maize and wheat in commercial areas this season.

“On the contrary, the irrigation green schemes alone witnessed an improvement in the expected harvest for both maize and wheat by 24% and 63% compared to last season, respectively. This improvement was attributed to a notable increase in the planted area by the irrigation green schemes,” she added.

According to Nghituwamata, the 2023/2024 rainfall season started earlier compared to the previous season, with light to moderate showers in October.

“Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West saw a delayed rainfall, which affected the commencement of ploughing activities. In addition, severe dry spells with high temperatures have negatively affected crops development that further led to crops wilting,” Nghituwamata said.


Nghituwamata said household food security has weakened in many parts of the country, following reduced agricultural production recorded in the 2022/2023 season.

She said many households in the major communal crop producing regions have depleted their previous season’s food stock and the majority are currently dependent on the market and drought relief food.

“Furthermore, the household food security situation in southern, eastern, western and central Namibia is also poor, because of the prevailing drought conditions. These areas primarily consist of livestock farmers who rely on livestock farming for their livelihoods, but the pasture in these regions is poor and inadequate to optimally sustain livestock,” Nghituwamata said.

“Many parts of the country are in distress grazing, with fair to poor livestock body conditions, especially in the southern, western and eastern parts of the country. The situation is expected to worsen should the country continue to receive poor rainfall for the remainder of the season.”


During the ministry budget motivation, agriculture deputy minister Anna Shiweda said in order to optimally intensify production at the green scheme projects, an amount of N$400 million is still required during the 2024/25 financial year.

“This amount includes the funds required for further development of the Etunda irrigation project and the total overhaul of green schemes, which is realistic to enable these projects to operate uninterrupted for the next 15 to 20 years,” Shiweda said.

This means the current allocation of N$65 million is a mere 16% of the required amount, she added.

“While we acknowledge the fact that the ministry received funds from international financial institutions such as the African Development Bank, it is imperative to point out that these funds are dedicated and committed to specific projects such as the Namibia Agriculture Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project,” she said.


Nghituwamata recommended that the government consider extending drought relief measures to households faced with food insecurity, as well as livestock support programme measures to affected farmers.

“Government must drill, install and rehabilitate [boreholes] and excavate earth dams in order to increase the availability and accessibility of water in areas and communities faced with water shortages,” she said.

Water supply is satisfactory in the areas that received rain the first half of the season, however, there are still those battling with water shortages, she added.

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