Reference Date: 27-May-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
In 2013, cereal production forecast to decline significantly following drought conditions
Poor pasture and inadequate water supplies also affect livestock situation
The Government of Namibia declared a national emergency in May, with more than 330 000 people estimated to be in need of assistance
Cereal production in 2013 is forecast to decline significantly
Harvesting of the main 2013 cereal crops is underway. Early production forecasts, from an assessment conducted by the Government in February, indicate a severe decline compared to last year and the short-term average, following drought conditions during the 2012/13 cropping season (November-June). The poor rains were more pronounced in southern and western parts of the country. For example, in the northwestern Omusait Region, which contributes approximately 14 percent to the national cereal output, cumulative rains between January and March were approximately one-third of the average. This region was also affected by an outbreak of army worms and is expected to record the sharpest decline in cereal production, about 50 percent below the average.
By contrast, in the northeastern Caprivi Region seasonal rains were more favourable and production is expected to surpass 2012’s flood-affected output, but remain below average. Based on the February assessment, the national 2013 cereal output is forecast at 96 000 tonnes, 42 percent lower than 2012’s harvest.
In addition, pasture and water availability for livestock has worsened significantly in parts. As a result, livestock conditions have deteriorated, resulting in distress sales of livestock at relatively low prices. Approximately 4 000 livestock deaths were recorded.
Cereal imports higher in 2012/13 and expected to rise further next year
Namibia imported about 86 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa, its main trading partner, during the 2012/13 marketing season (May/April), about 30 000 tonnes higher than the previous year’s level. Given the lower expected domestic supplies for the 2013/14 marketing year, maize imports are forecast to rise to approximately 115 000 tonnes, while a draw down in stocks will also help to bridge the larger domestic supply gap.
Food security tightens due to drought conditions in 2013
Results from a recent Inter-Agency Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA), conducted in April, found that about 331 000 persons are food insecure, with many households employing coping strategies to mitigate the impact of the drought, including reducing the number of meals consumed. The report also indicates that households’ stocks will be severely depleted in 2013/14 due to reduced household production. In response, the Government declared a national emergency and has initiated several short and long-term interventions. Emergency food aid is being distributed, with an estimated 39 600 tonnes of food required to cover the needs of the food insecure population, while recommendations to strengthen the affected households’ resilience to drought have been proposed. Although the country has the capacity to import sufficient quantities of cereals, households’ access to market supplies are expected to be negatively impacted due to reduced livestock prices and limited sales of crops.