By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus
If you go to a supermarket in January to February 2022 and your cabbage, pumpkin, butternuts and gem squash do not have a Namibian flag then think twice.
The country producers will be able to sufficiently carter for the local market and beyond for January to February 2022, according to the Namibia Agronomic Board’s (NAB) latest Vegetable Production Forecast for the 1st of January to 31 May 2022.
NAB advises all registered traders to buy more of locally produced vegetables and ensure compliance to the minimum Market Share Promotion requirements.
The board added that volume expected to be harvested can also change (positively or negatively) monthly due to factors beyond farmers control, which will be communicated.
The report covers the local production forecast for the six special controlled crops i.e. butternuts, cabbage, gem squash, onions, potatoes and pumpkins plus garlic as a monitored crop.
For pumpkins, the country’s producers (according to available data) will be able to produce sufficiently to feed the country’s formal demand (256 tons) from this month till March 2022.
For the three months the pumpkins producers will have 319 tons of excess pumpkins, for external supply and perhaps the informal market.
Cabbage local producers have indicated to the board that they will have enough on the ground to meet the expected formal market demand of around 930 tons from January till 22 March.
In the process they will also have access 353 tons to supply the informal market and export market if there is an excess/beyond what locals need.
In terms of butternuts, for the whole month of January 2021 farm data shows that there will be 439 tons from producers while the formal market’s expected demand is 284 tons.
POTATOES AND ONION SHORTAGE
For the forecast period of five months, the country faces a potato shortage between 994 to 2 789 tons monthly- as the existing six producers registered cannot fill the formal market.
For the first months of the forecast period only the Mashare Irrigation Project from Kavango Region will have some potato and Ulrich Schneider from the south will only harvest once mid this month.
Ludie Kolver from the central region is forecast to be the only potato producer who will be supplying from January till March 2022.
Whereas two farmers within the Karstland, W Louis Smit and Ludie Kolver, will only harvest some potato from April to May 2022, they will be supplemented by Dawid Bisschoff in the same region who will harvest only in April.
The six registered potato producers are expected to harvest around 3 162 tons by the end of May 2022, while the formal market’s expected demand stands at 14 692 tons.
This will leave a potato shortage of 11 530 tons for the five months period, according to the NAB forecast.
As expected for the first five months of the year, the country faces an onion shortage of 3 287 tons by the end of May 2022.
Local farmers are only expected to produce 335 tons, despite the formal market’s expected demand for the five months standing at 3 622 tons.
The lack of storage facilities for surplus onion production in the country has been cited by NAB as to drive imports during the off-season.
According to the board, the country’s oversupply of local onions occurs during the production season (May to December), whilst a shortage of local supply is habitually experienced during the off-season (January to April).
When it comes to garlic, the report highlighted that the country has five registered producers, with one (Wessel Johaness) projected to supply throughout the five months period.
The five producers will supply adequately for the month of January 2022, however, for the rest of the four months Wessel Johannes will not meet local demand.
According to the report, the country has around 98 potential registered producers of the six vegetables from the far eastern side of the country to the Orange River in the south.
NAB also calls upon all vegetable producers to provide/send their production data to the Horticulture Market Development sub-division every month in order to ensure that all local vegetable production data is recorded.
This is very crucial as it helps NAB to make informed and sound decisions with regards to the opening and closing of borders to either allow or restrict importation of vegetables whenever there is a local supply shortage or surplus respectively.