12 Tuesday, January 9 2018 | NEW ERA FARMERS FORUM Your weekly Agricultural Corner Somber mood grips Maize Triangle as rains stay away Bleak prospects… The Maize Triangle’s expected contribution of some 31,000 tonnes of white maize to the overall harvest of about 68,000 tonnes is now in serious jeopardy as the rains stayed away over and after the Christmas period and into the new yar. Pictured are two women farmers from the Omusati Region where less than 800 tonnes of white maize are now expected. Photo: Contributed. Staff Reporter Windhoek Farmers in the so-called Maize Triangle are holding their breath following the erratic rainfall since November 2017, wondering whether or not they would be able to meet the earlier projection of a 31,000-tonne maize harvest this year. Earlier projections had indicated a total harvest of 69,000 tonnes of white maize for Namibia. Maize is a staple diet for many Namibians. As prospects of regular rains subdued atmosphere now grips the producers in the Maize Triangle area that stretches from Grootfontein to Tsumeb and Otavi. The areas are known as Namibia’s breadbasket, as farms in the area produce nearly half of the country’s maize output. For this season, less than 800 tonnes of white maize are expected from the Omusati Region and environs. The central and east areas are now expected to contribute some 5,200 tonnes of white maize. Hopes are pinned on the Kavango Region bringing in a much-needed 21,388 tonnes, while the Zambezi Region is expected to contribute more than 4,500 tonnes. Hardap and environs (irrigation) will harvest in excess of 5,700 tonnes. There have been earlier signs of recovery after consecutive droughts forced Namibia to import some 180,000 tonnes of cereal. In October last year, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) predicted a bumper harvest of close to 69,000 tonnes for this season at the end of July seriously doubted as the rains stayed away at the beginning of the planting season since November. The producers’ hopes of planting some 9,000 hectares are now dwindling as the planting season comes to an end. “January 27 is regarded as the last day of successful planting in the Maize Triangle, provided This is absolutely not the case and many producers just don’t know which way to go,” said a worried chairperson of the Agronomic Producers Association (APA), Gernot Eggert. “If it rains from today and we get consistent follow-up showers, they still stand a chance to reap a decent harvest. If they plant now and the rains do not come, it’s all over for them. Another season of erratic and sporadic rainfall like in the past few years will mean the end of the road for most producers in the triangle,” he said. “At this stage, less than one-third of producers received normal rainfall last season, and the trend continues. That could mean a serious decline in planting and producers will only be able to contribute a drop towards Namibia’s average annual white maize harvest of some 70,000 tonnes before the drought of 2013 struck,” he lamented. Eggert says the combined effects of the droughts since 2013 will prove just one too many for maize producers in the Maize Triangle who are all struggling costs of producers on average amount to N,500 per hectare, and because of the dismal crops of the past few years, producers have already lost millions of dollars. The same bleak picture unfolded in the northern communal areas (NCAs) where mahangu and maize crops dropped drastically to all-time lows and resulted in government forking out some N0 million in drought relief. Namibia had to import close to 210,000 tonnes of cereal annually since 2013 and almost 70,000 Namibians were left in urgent need of drought relief food in 2016. Namibia uses 150,000 tonnes of the global maize consumption of 840 million tonnes, and relies on South African imports of about 160,000 tonnes annually to supply its population of some 2.3 million.
Tuesday, January 9 2018 | NEW ERA FARMERS 13 Project member Matias Shipanga, stands on that is ready for harvesting. Africa still battles with agricultural challenges Lüderitz lucerne project in third harvest The lucerne project in Lüderitz had its third One of the project’s coordinator, Matheus Joseph, stated that the - lucerne on four hectares of the - Staff Reporter - applications for the position turn around the corporation, - - and controversial AGM ever last year, Meatco - introduced to offer a secure price to the producer, says - additional feedlot facilities to - Japan and Russia as potential processed and exported to to sales revenue increases,” Meatco operates in a unique sophisticated international purpose to eradicate poverty to have a piece of land , land African parity prices, supply - - is sourced to expand these revisited the current producer - - - - the poverty eradication policy - Troubled times…A profoundly challenging year is waiting for Meatco as the corporation starts looking for a new CEO this week. In the photo is an employee of Meatco processing beef. - countries in Africa - tural yields in recent years, the continent persistent food insecurity, said South - port on food security and nutrition, he said - prevalence of under- - - - Losses and Waste: Leadership for Innovation, at the third - - children and poor - tural production and productivity are all insecurity on the “All these fac- Moephuli stressed in SA, a coordinated one institution is - ricultural Research projects, he said that advanced operations fers and artificial success rate of these In another ex- nership involved in productivity had ance - a dual purpose - are considered very innovations included peach and nectarine an increase of the cultivars exported country’s peach and nectarine industry Moephuli said on the continent, such as population - - reinforce the critical role of innovation - - -