Reference Date: 19-May-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Expected recovery in cereal production in 2014 following last year’s poor crop
Large volumes of maize imported in the 2013/14 marketing year (May/April) to compensate for the drought-reduced output in 2013
Food security conditions expected to improve with new harvest, following the sharp deterioration in the previous year, where approximately 464 000 people were in need of assistance
Cereal production expected to recover in 2014
Harvesting of the 2014 coarse grains is about to start. Provisional production estimates, released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in April, indicate an increased output relative to the previous year’s drought-reduced harvest. The maize crop, mainly from the commercial sector, is forecast to increase by nearly 70 percent to about 68 000 tonnes compared to 2013. Production in the communal sector also registered positive gains, mainly on account of a rebound in yields as the planted area remained relatively unchanged. The second important cereal, millet, although lower than the average, also increased by 48 percent to 37 000 tonnes.
Despite an overall estimated increase in national production, sporadic rainfall at the end of 2013 and short dry spells in January and early February, caused some water deficits and limited larger production gains, particularly in the northcentral communal farming areas of Oshana and Oshikoto. In addition, an outbreak of American Bollworms caused some damage to cereal crops.
Following the drought in 2013, which induced farmers to significantly increase livestock sales (nationally, the number of cattle marketed rose by 76 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter of 2013), pasture and livestock conditions have improved in most parts of the country this year. However, in the northwestern region of Kuene water deficits have continued to negatively impact on pasture development.
Significant volumes of maize imported from South Africa to bridge larger supply gap in 2013/14
Imports of maize from South Africa doubled to approximately 195 000 tonnes in the just-completed 2013/14 marketing year (May/April). The weather‑depressed 2013 harvest, and consequently tighter national supplies, was the main driver behind increased imports. For the current 2014/15 year, total cereal imports are expected to fall, but remain close to the short‑term average of 215 000 tonnes, reflecting the expected recovery in production.
Food security expected to improve in 2014
Following the severe deterioration in food security last year, on account of the reduced domestic 2013 production and consequently poor household food stocks, (many households depleted their own production supplies by July 2013), the situation is expected to improve with new supplies from the current harvest. In total, approximately 780 000 people were estimated to be food-insecure, following the impact of the 2013 drought, and of those the number of people requiring food assistance was estimated to be 463 581 persons. The Government’s food distribution programme was concluded in March 2013, a period which normally marks the start of the green harvests.