The SADC food security early warning system report for January 2023 indicates that the vegetation conditions in Namibia and southern Angola are well below average, which is consistent with rainfall performance.
The number of cattle marketed in January 2023 declined by 9% to 14 645, compared to 16 065 cattle marketed in January 2022.
The decrease is attributed to slow activities at export and local abattoirs, slaughtering 4 805 heads in January 2023, 38% lower than 7 765 heads in January 2022.
These figures are contained in the latest market watch report of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) released last week.
According to the report, cattle production in some parts of Namibia will be adversely affected by the poor rangeland conditions due to the uneven distribution of rainfall.
“We further observed an increase in the number of live exports (weaners) by 19% to 9 840 in January 2023. The upsurge can be ascribed to the rise in weaner auctions for South African exports, which has in turn resulted in a decrease in the price by 17% to N$37.12/kg in January 2023, compared to N$44.49/kg in the prior year,” the report states.
Considering harsh climatic conditions, coupled with the global crisis, farmers are urged to introduce innovative ways of coping with drought to avoid further losses.
Government support is required in terms of proactive risk transfer instruments, market access and drought relief programmes.
Similarly, the number of goats marketed declined by 18% to 5 315 in January 2023 lower, compared to 6 470 in January 2022.
Farmers reduced the number of live exports to South Africa due to the low demand for goats, coinciding with the end of the festive season.
Contrary to the decline in cattle and goats, the sheep industry continues to surprise to the upside, recording a 4% increase in the number of sheep marketed to 20 727 heads in January 2023 from 19 893 heads in January 2022.
The blended concerns of erratic rainfall and rising food inflation could worsen consumers’ affordability, Agribank has warned.
The Namibia acute food insecurity report states that the food security situation is projected to worsen this year, corresponding to the last and second half of Namibia’s lean season, with 390 000 people forecasted to experience high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above).
The Kavango East, Kavango West, Kunene, Omaheke, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa regions have the majority of people in food crisis.
Moreover, the tight labour market, as well as the high food and fuel process has further derailed food security.
As it appears, it is clear the agriculture sector is not out of the woods yet and is faced with enormous headwinds.
Farmers and potential off-takers are, therefore, encouraged to start preparing for postharvest care and marketing of crops to realise maximum benefit from the 2023 harvest.