Reference Date: 11-March-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Generally poor rains since December 2014 have lowered production prospects for 2015 cereal crop
Imports of maize declined in 2014/15, reflecting a recovery in 2014 cereal output from previous year’s drought-reduced level
Food security conditions expected to be stressed in some areas in 2015, due to anticipated decrease in cereal production. This follows generally improved conditions in 2014
Prolonged period of below-average rains lower 2015 cereal production prospects
Harvesting of the 2015 cereal crops is expected to commence in June and current production prospects are unfavourable. From mid-December onwards large parts of the country, including the main producing regions of Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati, received well below-average rains that have resulted in poor vegetation conditions, lowering cereal production expectations. A Government-led crop assessment was conducted in February to determine the impact of the dry period on the agriculture sector, and the findings are expected to be released in the next month. Based on the current conditions and rainfall forecasts indicating a continuation of normal to below-normal rains between March and May, a below-average cereal production is expected.
Cereal production recovered in 2014
Cereal production in 2014 recovered sharply from the drought-affected output of the previous year. The maize output, which accounts for the bulk of cereal production, was estimated at 68 000 tonnes about 70 percent higher compared to 2013. The second most important cereal, millet, although lower than the average, increased by 48 percent to 37 000 tonnes.
Reduced maize imports in 2014/15
Reflecting the improved 2014 cereal output, imports of maize from South Africa declined in the 2014/15 marketing year (May/April). Between May 2014 and February 2015 about 96 000 tonnes were imported, approximately 42 percent lower than the corresponding period in 2013/14. With two months of the marketing year remaining, imports are forecast to reach about 120 000 tonnes.
Food security expected to deteriorate in 2015/16
Following the severe deterioration in food security in 2013 on account of the reduced domestic production, conditions recovered in 2014 largely reflecting improved food supplies. An estimated 118 000 people, down from about 779 000 people, were estimated to be food-insecure in 2014. However, the expected decrease in cereal production in 2015, and consequently tighter household food supplies, is anticipated to negatively impact on food security in 2015/16. Results from the soon to be released crop assessment will provide more details on the prevailing situation and likely impact on food security.