Namibian maize farmers fear bad harvest

Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Maize farmers in Namibia fear they might have a bad harvest this season due to poor rainfall and scorching heat, a union said on Tuesday.

“We only expect to harvest 35 percent of maize crops in dry land (rain-fed) areas,” the Agronomic Producers Association’s (APA) umbrella body, Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) announced after a meeting.

“Poor and erratic rainfall experienced in the north-central areas of Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein, where most of Namibia’s dry land maize is produced, mean that the biggest parts of these areas will record poor to no harvest,” the NAU said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In the Hardap district of southern Namibia, where maize and wheat are grown under irrigation, average to above average rainfalls were experienced this season.”

Last year, 70,330 tonnes of maize were harvested in Namibia.

The APA has written a letter to the agriculture ministry informing it about the farmers’ plight.

“Government support is necessary to ensure that farmers, who have poor to no harvests this season, can continue in the next planting season,” the NAU stated.

Namibia’s population of about 2.2 million consumes about 150,000 tonnes of maize annually, two-thirds of which must be imported, mainly from neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.

Last year, good rains caused yellow maize production to reach 68,200 tonnes. About 55,000 tonnes of white maize were harvested.




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