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Reference Date: 30-September-2022


  1. Above‑average cereal production in 2022, supported by conducive weather conditions in second half of season

  2. Cereal imports forecast to fall in 2022/23 on account of large domestic outturn

  3. Prices of staple cereal products at elevated levels reflecting high global prices, with wheat‑based products increasing at fastest rates

  4. High food prices seen to stress food insecurity, but large cereal harvest provides some relief

Conducive weather results in cereal production upturn in 2022

Harvesting of the 2022 main season cereal crops was completed in June, while the winter wheat crop is to be harvested in the last quarter of 2022.

Total cereal production is forecast at 152 000 tonnes, an above‑average level and almost on par with the outturn of 2021. The good cereal outturn is predominantly the result of conducive weather conditions in the second half of the cropping season, following sparse rainfall amounts just after the planting period in the last quarter 2021. The favourable weather conditions maintained above‑average yields of maize and millet, which underpinned the good crop outturns. Production of wheat is forecast to triple on a yearly basis in 2022, as high prices spurred an expansion in plantings.

Livestock conditions are reported to be generally satisfactory, reflecting adequate availabilities of pasture and water resources, despite the impact of Brown Locust infestations on grazing land in Kharas and Hadrap regions. In response to an outbreak of Lung Sickness (Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia), reported in February 2022, the government introduced movement restrictions for cattle to stem the spread of the disease and implemented a vaccination campaign.

Planting of the 2023 cereal crops is expected to begin in November and weather forecasts point to a higher‑than‑normal likelihood of above‑average rainfall amounts between November 2022 and March 2023.

Cereal imports expected to decline in 2022/23

The country is a net importer of cereals, with imports accounting on average for about two‑thirds of the national cereal consumption requirement. However, the large domestic cereal outturns in 2021 and 2022 have lessened the import needs in the 2022/23 marketing year (May/April) and consequently imports (mostly maize and wheat for food and feed) are estimated at 241 000 tonnes, about 17 percent less than the five‑year average.

Import requirements of maize, mostly sourced from South Africa, are forecast at 12 000 tonnes, a fourth lower than the five‑year average. Import requirements of wheat are forecast at about 110 000 tonnes, slightly above the average level. In the previous three marketing years, more than 50 percent of the wheat imports originated in the Russian Federation. If disruptions to exports in the Black Sea Region persist, Namibia is likely to try and seek alternative import sources.

Increasing prices of staple cereals

Reflecting the country’s net importing status for cereals and the elevated global prices, domestic prices of bread and cereals increased by 8.8 percent year on year in August 2022, up from the 5.2 percent estimated in August 2021, according to the Namibian Statistics Agency. Wheat‑based products increased by the largest proportion, while maize products increased by a lesser extent, reflecting both the more muted price growth in the international market during the first half of the year and the country’s lower dependence on maize imports.

In August 2022, the headline annual inflation rate surpassed the government’s upper bound target range (6 percent), reaching 7.3 percent. In addition to the elevated food prices, high fuel prices are also driving up inflation rates. To temper inflationary pressure, the Central Bank of Namibia decided to raise the national benchmark interest rate in June 2022.

High food prices expected to stress food security conditions

An estimated 750 000 people were assessed to be facing Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)Phase 3 (Crisis) levels of food insecurity between January and March 2022, the peak lean season. The IPC food insecurity projections for the remainder of 2022 and early 2023 are not yet available.

The good 2022 cereal output is expected to benefit farming households both in terms of bolstering food supplies and incomes from crop sales. However, the prevalence of acute food insecurity in the first quarter of 2023 is expected to remain at a similar level to conditions experienced in early 2022, as inflation rates are foreseen to stay high in the coming months, worsening households’ access to food.

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