Bumper mahangu harvest this year
By Staff Writer
The Namibian Agronomic Board expects about 53 000 tonnes of mahungu (millet) to be produced this year despite incessant rains in the northern parts of the county which have been threatening to destroy yields in the future.
According to the Namibian Agronomic Board National Mahangu Manager, Akawa Amufufu, the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) conducted a crop survey early in the year to come up with rough expectations of the crop harvest this year.
The survey was also meant to ascertain the country’s food needs at a time when shortages have been perennial because of a constant drought that has hit Namibia for the past three seasons.
Ironically drought has also been a regional phenomenon resulting in most countries in the Southern African Development Community relying on food imports in the last few seasons.
The expected Mahangu yield this year is almost double that met last year when Namibian grossed 19 400 tonnes of the popular carbohydrate which is a major staple food in the country’s northern region.
The highest tonnage was recorded in 2009/2010 season when the country harvested 73 272 tonnes.
“The Namibian Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) of the directorate of planning and business development within the ministry of agriculture water and forestry conducted a crop assessment in the main Mahangu region as of January,” he said.
Corroborating Amufufu’s sentiments the Chief Executive Officer of the NAB Christof Brock also acknowledged that the effects of last year’s drought on the last yield although expressing optimism in the forthcoming harvest.
“After a devastating drought of the 2013 rain fed grain harvest, it was a great relief that the subsequent rainy season was favourable and an all-time record marketed white maize harvest of 73 457 tonnes was achieved.
The ratio of white maize produced under irrigation is roughly 50/50.
The harvest represents 56% of the longer term average net domestic consumption of 131 500 tonnes,” said the Brock in his report.
Brock added that although staple food production was rather low horticulture was more promising in the period under review, a move he added will stimulate exports.
“On the horticulture fresh produce side I am proud to report that good progress evident mainly as a result of Namibian market share promotion which compels importers to buy a given percentage of Namibian produce before being able to import,” he said.