GIEWS Country Briefs: Namibia 10-September-2011

News and Press Release
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  • Flooding and a dry spell resulted in a large decline in cereal production in 2011

  • An estimated 134 219 persons were affected by the floods in northern regions

  • Food security of the flood affected people remains difficult, but food assistance is being provided

Heavy rains and flooding caused large production losses in northern regions

Flooding and prolonged water logging in Kunene, Caprivi, Kavango, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and Oshana regions, following an extended period of above average rains between January and April, significantly impacted crop development and resulted in significant production declines in some constituencies. The north central regions of Oshana and Omusati were worst affected by the flood waters, recording a 63 and 55 percent decline, respectively, in cereal production relative to last year. The torrential rains, in addition, led to losses of livestock, particularly goats. Furthermore, the residual stagnate water, following the recession of flood waters, could led to an increase in cases of livestock contracting water-borne diseases. Eastern parts of Caprivi also experienced a dry period during February causing permanent crop wilting in localised areas.

In aggregate, cereal production for the 2010/11 agricultural campaign is estimated at 117 000 tonnes, 25 percent below last year’s good harvest. The communal sectors in the north central regions recorded the largest production declines, while, by contrast the commercial sector registered a 1 percent increase.

Larger import requirement for current marketing year

Cereal import requirements for the 2011/12 marketing year (May/April) are forecast at 195 000 tonnes, about 27 percent higher than last year’s level. Given the limited trade in sorghum and millet, increased imports of maize are anticipated to compensate for the lower domestic supply of these cereals. Flood affected households receiving assistance

The significant production short-fall recorded in the northern regions has raised the level of food insecurity of the affected households. The government’s crop assessment, released in July, indicates that in some areas of Omusati region, households will have exhausted their current production as early as August. On average most households indicated that supplies from the 2011 harvest will be sufficient until September. In total, an estimated 134 219 persons were affected by the flooding, loss of crops and livestock . In the immediate period, 50 000 beneficiaries will receive food assistance. The government, with assistance from international partners, will also distribute subsidized seeds in November/December, in time for the forthcoming 2011/12 season. In addition, measures to treat and vaccinate livestock are being implemented by the government’s Directorate of Veterinary Services, with support from international organizations.