Reference Date: 12-August-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production in 2015 decreased sharply due to an extended period of dry weather
Imports of maize forecast to increase in 2015/16 to compensate for the lower domestic output
Reduced cereal production and poor livestock conditions cause an increase in number of people in need of food assistance in 2015. This follows generally improved conditions in 2014
Sharp drop in 2015 cereal production
The 2015 maize crop, harvested in June, is estimated at 38 000 tonnes, 44 percent lower than the above-average 2014 output. Insufficient rains and high temperatures caused the sharp production decline, particularly impacting rainfed crops in the communal sector, where maize production fell by 73 percent from the above-average level of 2014. The commercial, mostly irrigated, maize crop was less affected by the unfavourable growing conditions, and is estimated to be 46 percent below last year. Approximately 50 percent of dry land commercial farmers are reported to have experienced total crop failure. Production of sorghum and millet decreased by 60 and 65 percent, respectively from the reduced 2014 harvest, while the irrigated winter wheat crop, to be harvested from October, is provisionally forecast at about 13 000 tonnes, 23 percent up on the previous year.
Overall, the 2015 cereal output stands at 68 000 tonnes, a significant 43 percent decline from the near-average 2014 output.
Poor seasonal rains have also negatively impacted pasture and water availability, resulting in a deterioration of livestock body conditions, notably in northwestern areas. Furthermore, a recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD), detected in May in north central regions, has affected destocking and marketing of livestock, a measure normally implemented to mitigate the impact of drought. Measures have been put in place to contain and halt the spread of FMD.
Maize prices move upwards, reflecting poor cereal production
Prices of maize meal in Windhoek have been increasing since the start of 2015, and in June were at near record levels. The reduced domestic 2015 maize output, higher import costs from South Africa and an increase in the import levy for white maize have combined to exert upward pressure on prices this year.
Maize imports forecast to increase in 2015/16
Maize imports for the 2015/16 marketing year (May/April) are forecast at approximately 180 000 tonnes, including yellow maize for feed. At this level, the forecast is about 55 000 tonnes more than the volume imported in 2014/15, largely reflecting the reduced domestic maize harvest. Between April and July 2015, about 50 percent more maize grain was imported compared to the corresponding period in 2014.
Food security conditions deteriorate in 2015/16
The reduced 2015 cereal output and the deterioration of livestock conditions have caused a sharp increase in the number of food insecure people, estimated at 370 316 in 2015/16, as reported by the Namibian Vulnerability Assessment Committee (NVAC). This figure is up from an estimated 118 000 in 2014. The NVAC recommends the provision of assistance to the food insecure population until March 2016, when new supplies from the 2016 harvest are expected to be available.