Namibian communal farmers poised for a bumper harvest

agricultural productivity
agricultural productivity

By Ndalimpinga Iita

Subsistence farmers in the northern part of Namibia, growing the staple pearl millet (mahangu) crop, are poised to attain a bumper harvest, securing food self-sufficiency.

Sara Amwele, a communal crop farmer from Uukwangula village in Oshana region, is one of the farmers bracing for a bumper harvest.

“The crops development and quantity is impressive; therefore, the harvest would be good. Our silos will be overflowing with grains. This year is one of agricultural prosperity,” Amwele said Wednesday.

The good harvest is attributed to good rainfall received during the farming season, motivating many farmers to work in the hope of good yields, according to the farmer.

Leonard Hango, a hydrologist with the Agriculture Ministry, said that Namibia’s northern region received regular to above-normal rainfall from December 2019 through to early 2020.

Fete Iita is another farmer from a village in Oshana region. Like many farmers, over the past years, Iita suffered major losses due to drought, declared a state of emergency by Namibian President Hage Geingob in May 2019.

Today, she smiled in delight while observing her field.

“After a year dependent on drought relief provided by government, I am so happy that I will consume my produce. We will not lack food like in the past year.” Iita said.

The farmers expect an ample surplus too.

Meanwhile, the plenteous harvest surplus is envisaged to catapult farmers into business.

According to Iita, who has not been able to sell the surplus to individuals and local businesses since 2018 due to drought, plans to revive her informal business venture of selling pearl millet grains.

“I’ve already put my marketing plan in place and see if I can target new customers,” Iita said.

In the interim, the Namibian Agronomic Board has since set the pearl millet grain floor price for the 2020 marketing season at 4988.50 Namibian dollars (277 U.S. dollars) per ton and 4.99 Namibian dollars per kilogram.

Akawa Amufufu, agronomic market development officer at the Board, said that the floor price for pearl millet is determined based on the cost of production per annum.

“The formula used has been agreed upon by organised producers and millers. Done to safeguard an orderly marketing environment to stimulate production and marketing of surplus mahangu grain in Namibia,” he said. Enditem

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