Onions dominate exports in November

The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) says onions were the commodity of the month after Namibia sold N$20,2 million worth of the vegetable in November.

This is according to the latest Merchandise Trade Statistics Bulletin, which was released yesterday.

Total exports for Namibia saw a significant boost in November, reaching a high 73%, compared to October.

However, the country’s reliance on imported goods continues, leading to a trade deficit of N$4 billion.

“The country’s trade balance stood at a deficit of N$4 billion, an improvement when compared to N$4,5 billion, and worsened when compared to N$2,8 billion recorded in October 2023 and November 2022, respectively,” says Alex Shimuafeni, the statistician general.

The November export was fuelled by an increased demand for natural resources, particularly uranium (23,3% market share), precious stones (20,9%), and non-monetary gold (12,3%).

China remained the top export destination, making up 23,9% of exports, followed by Botswana (22,2%).

While exports soared, so did imports, climbing 39,7% from October and 26,1% from November 2022.

South Africa retained its dominance as the primary import source, accounting for 36,3% of the market share.

India followed closely with 13%.

Petroleum oil (27%), inorganic chemicals (3,4%), and construction equipment (3%) were the most sought-after imports.

The Southern African Customs Union was Namibia’s biggest trade partner in November, absorbing 41,7% of exports and supplying 37,1% of imports.

The Bric nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) took up 24,1% of exports and 21,4% of imports.

Sea transport remained the preferred method for exports (41,7%), followed by air (34,8%) and road (23,5%).

For imports, however, road transport took the lead (49,2%), followed by sea (47,5%).

According to Shimuafeni, this shift highlights the importance of regional land trade for Namibian imports.

Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, Namibia enjoyed a trade surplus with Liberia in November, exporting onions worth N$20,2 million.

Despite the export boom, Namibia’s trade deficit highlights the need for diversifying its import sources and increasing value-added exports, Shimuafeni says.

“Strengthening regional trade partnerships and boosting domestic production could help narrow the gap in the future,” he says.

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