Family Farming Knowledge Platform


Namibia is situated in the south west of the continent Africa and lies at 22°00’ latitude south of the Equator and at 17° 00’ longitude east of Greenwich Meridian. Namibia shares borders with Antlantic Ocean on the west, Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south. Namibia has thirteen (14) administrative regions, namely Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango East and West, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Erongo, Omaheke, Khomas, Hardap and Karas. These regions are subdivided into 121 constituencies. The country covers a total area of approximately 825,418 km2 (82.4 million hectares). Namibia is a very large country in land size, the second biggest in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Katjepunda at al (2007).


Namibia has the driest climate in sub-Sahara Africa. The annual rainfall is generally very erratic. Various studies conducted in Namibia revealed that the mean annual rainfall for Namibia is 275 mm and ranges from as low as below 50 mm in the south – western Namib Desert and coastal zones to more than 600 mm in the far north east. Ecologically, 22 per cent of the country is a desert and receives a mean annual rainfall of less than 100mm, 33 per cent is arid with a mean annual rainfall of between 100 and 200 mm; 37 per cent is semi- arid and receives between 300 to 500 mm of rainfall annually; and 8 per cent is semi humid to sub – tropical with a mean annual rainfall of between 500 to 700 mm, most of which is received during summer months October to March. Summer rains in the southern part of the country fall late, mainly in January, February, March and April, but the extreme south-western areas of Hardap region receive occasional winter rains. These winter rains and the generally arid conditions help contribute to the formation of the Succulent Shrub, also known as the Succulent Karoo in South Africa.

Drought is always a possibility and the lack of water is an ever-present constraint in most parts of the country. The situation causes that potential for arable agriculture is generally limited to the northern part of the country where water is less scarce. Thus, substance agriculture is predominantly at the northern part of the country (Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and partly Kunene north). Agricultural potential in the central regions is confined to livestock farming, while in the arid south only extensive sheep and goat farming is possible.
The total land is subdivided into commercial and communal areas and state protected area. The commercial area covers about 36.2 million hectares accounting for 44 per cent of the total land, though it accommodates only ten per cent of the population, while the communal area covers 41 per cent or 33.8 million hectares of the total land area and accommodates about 60 per cent of the population. The state protected area constitutes about 15 per cent (12.4 million hectares) of the total land, which accommodates 30 per cent of the population.

The communal area is occupied by family units approximately 907 715 households (NCA2013 / 14) which are producing food for household consumption and if there is surplus production, is considered for the market. Major crops grown are pearl millet / mahangu, maize, sorghum, wheat and legumes at less extent. There is no private ownership of land in communal area and all land used for agricultural purpose belongs to the state. Customary rules governing tenure rights over grazing land are vested in the power of the traditional authorities that also allocates land for cropping, at present estimated at minimum of 3 hectares per household. About 70% of the Namibian population has a family size of 6 - 9 persons mostly children under the age of 15 (NCA 2013/14).

The maize triangle area in Otjozondjupa region (Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein) produces mainly white maize and wheat on a large a scale. Bush encroachment and overgrazing has significantly reduced the amount of desired grasses, and resulting in a decrease of biodiversity and carrying capacity, hence causing severe economic losses.
The agricultural sector in Namibia remain central to the lives of the majority of the population. Despite the sector marginal contribution to the country GDP, directly or indirectly the sector support the majority of the country population.

Communal farmers constitutes about 70% per cent of the population and they are engaged in subsistence agriculture. On average they hold 5 hectares of land per household. They produces food for house hold consumption and uses family labour for food production. Most families’ uses animal draught power for soil preparation and very few use hired tractors. Most of these families are poor and live in abject poverty. They are defined/ characterized by limited access to land, information, finance, poor road infrastructure, technology, poor market access and long walking distance to basic facilities such as clinics, hospitals and schools. Lack of access to the above mentioned factors are the major hindrances to agricultural development in Namibia`s communal sector. Moreover, the contribution of small scale farmers in Namibia to agricultural development is still unmeasurable.

The Government of the Republic of Namibia has put policies, programme and strategies in place such as the Communal Land Reform Act, Act 5 of 2002, Namibia Agricultural Policy, Dry land crop production programme, Resettlement policy, Green Scheme policy and range land policy to try to unlock the potential of the communal sector. These policies are designed in line with the relevant requirements and objectives of the: National Development Plans, Namibia Vision 2030; Strategic Plans for the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Harambe prosperity plan.



This text is kindly provided by the authorities of this country

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