Positive growth in agri production values

BUMPER CROP … Namibia recorded the biggest harvest of white maize at 97 534 tonnes last year. Photo: FreePik

The agronomic sector recorded the most value growth, with wheat and white maize up 54,2%, during 2022.

According to the latest issue of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) newsletter, this contributed to total agricultural production values which showed positive growth of 18,3%.

The union said sheep production values grew 37,4%, grapes 34,5%, goats 33,2%, cattle 7,5%, and charcoal 20,5%.

“The post-drought herd recovery and better producer prices helped growth in cattle, sheep and goats, while the normal to above-normal rainfall during the 2022 planting season and the expansion of some irrigated lands resulted in exceptional harvests of agronomy crops,” said the NAU.

White maize recorded a harvest of 97 534 tonnes, the biggest for maize in the history of Namibia, surpassing the 90 895 tonnes harvested in 2021 by 7%.

Wheat also showed a record figure of 24 195 tonnes harvested in 2022 compared to 18 498 tonnes in 2021, the newsletter noted.

“The average maize price was N$6 639 per tonne in 2022 compared to N$4 643/t in 2021, for wheat it was N$8 105/t in 2022, compared to N$6 757/t in 2021, and these price improvements contributed significantly to the increase in agronomy production values in 2022,” said the NAU.

The NAU said 43 799 tonnes of grapes harvested from April to December 2022 exceeded the 37 711 tonnes for the whole 2021 season by 16,6%.

“Nearly all grapes produced in Namibia are exported, with 99,5% exported in 2022, and 99,1% in 2021. In addition, improved prices led to a 34,5% increase in sector production value,” noted the newsletter.

The total of 53 006 tonnes of fresh produce was harvested between April and December 2022, while 61 790 tonnes were harvested for the complete 2021 season.

“More fresh produce was exported in 2022 (56,3% of total harvest) than in 2021 (35,1% of the total harvest), contributing significantly to the 5,3% year-on-year (y/y) increase in the production value of fresh produce.”

The union says the charcoal sector saw a significant 20,5% increase in value due to a 9,5% increase in tonnage produced from 210 000 tonnes in 2021 to 230 000 tonnes in 2022, as well as a 10% increase in prices from N$2 000 to N$2 200 per tonne.

The production value of pork improved marginally by 0,1%, despite a 2,7% increase in the average pork ceiling price from N$37,91/kg in 2021 to N$38,94/kg in 2022. The 2,9% drop in the number of pigs marketed over the same period pulled down the production value.

“Milk production dropped from 23,9 million litres in 2018 to 15,0 million litres in 2021, but the sector stabilised in 2022 with an increase in volume of about 3,8% from the 2021 production figures.

“Additionally, the milk producer price rose by 1,4%, pushing up production value by 5,3%,” said the union.

The estimated growth for poultry (including broilers and eggs) stood at N$1,2 billion in 2021, but increased to N$1,3 billion in 2022, displaying an increase of about 8,9%.

The growth in value in the broiler and egg subsectors came mainly from a 7,5% and 18,2% increase in prices, respectively, while broiler production fell from 33 219 in 2021 to 32 835 in 2022. Eggs produced increased by 13,5% from 497 717 eggs in 2021 to 565 000 eggs in 2022.

Production slowed in the face of high production costs and cheap imports dumped onto the Namibian market.

The Swakara production value shows a contraction of 73,9% brought about by a decline in the fur industry spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The challenges in the fur industry have been accelerated by increasing concerns over animal welfare and a shift towards what is perceived as more ethical and sustainable fashion choices,” said the NAU.

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