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Namibia’s Crop Harvest Dips By 9% In 2022/23 …as most homes drained of food reserves

By:Justicia Shipena
The Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (VAA) report shows that Namibia has harvested 9% less during the 2022/23 cropping season.
On Wednesday, the office of the Prime Minister officially released the Integrated Phase Classification (IC) report on the findings of this year’s VAA.
The VAA is a process of collecting and analysing data on livelihood and food security in the country to inform policy and further aid in the understanding of natural and socio-economic disasters to food and nutrition security.
I-Ben Natangwe Nashandi, the Executive Director in the Prime Minister’s office, said the nation harvested 153,000 metric tonnesin 2022/23 cropping season.
“This is 9% less than the harvest of 168,200 metric tonnes from previous season (2021/22) but 23% above the 10 years’ average production of 124,200 MT,” Nashandi said.
The Namibia Meteorological Services 2022/2023 seasonal report indicates that Namibia received below-normal and irregular rainfalls, resulting in a combination of flash floods and dry periods in various parts of the country.
As a result, Nashandi said it has exposed communities to the risk of poorer agricultural yields, animal losses, and eventually reduced family food inventories, thereby jeopardising food security at the home level.
The Executive Director stated that grazing conditions are typically poor in most parts of the country, which has an impact on animal body conditions.
The VVA was conducted by staff from government offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs), regional councils, local authorities, civil society organisations (Namibia Red Cross Society), the University of Namibia, and United Nations agencies (FAO, WFP, UNDP, WHO, and UNICEF) .
The report studied grain output, saying that with minimal rainfall this year and flash floods in all crop growing regions, all crop growing regions saw a dismal harvest.
“Between the months of July to September 2023, approximately 579,000 people in Namibia (22% of the population) are estimated to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity and requiring urgent humanitarian assistance,” Nashandi pointed out.
He noted that most homes currently do not have any food supplies, with most indicating stockpiles lasting less than one month and those with stocks lasting one to three months having already drained their food stock.
As a result, he said, households have already had challenges obtaining food owing to a lack of income and high unemployment rates.
According to the report’s findings, it is estimated that the number of persons experiencing food insecurity would increase to 695,000 between October 2023 and March 2024.
This equates to 26% of the total population.
“With the anticipated El Niño, which is likely to affect us during the 2023/24 agricultural season, the situation in the country will be negatively affected due to more dry and limited rainfall, which could put food security in the country at risk. Therefore, the projected population of 491,000 anticipated to be in Phase 3 or above during April to June 2024 is likely to increase.”
Nashandi further said around 85% of the population obtains its water through private and public taps, and 7% from boreholes.
Boreholes provide the majority of water to around 20% of the population in Kavango West, Omaheke, and Kunene regions.
According to the survey, about 76.4% of the population walks less than 2.5 kilometres to water points, 18.1% walks 2.5 kilometres to 5 kilometres, and 5.6% walks more than 5 kilometres to water points, particularly in Kavango West, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, and Zambezi regions.
Nashandi also noted the office of the Prime Minister will roll-out the drought relief programme (food assistance) to all affected subsistence farmers in rural areas in all the 14 regions, effective 1 October 2023 to June 2024.
In addition, he said the livestock support programme will be implemented from 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2024.
He said regional councils will oversee and facilitate the identification and registration of beneficiaries at village level.
“This should be done through transparent platforms, preferably community meetings coordinated by community leaders to identify and register households that are in dire need of this assistance.”
Nashandi went on to state that the Prime Minister’s office will notify all administrative processes that regions must follow throughout the implementation of the drought assistance programme on food distribution.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform will convey all administrative processes and requirements for impacted farmers to benefit from livestock assistance and water provision initiatives at the back end of it.

Justicia Shipena

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