White Maize

White maize and mahangu remain the most important sources of staple food in Namibia. White maize is mostly produced in Africa and in Mexico for human consumption and, under contract in the USA. The rest of the world produces corn which is yellow maize for animal feed. Although Namibia is still a nett importer of staple grain, the local white maize production shows a gradual increase during normal rain-fed circumstances. This grain is produced under both rain-fed conditions and under irrigation.

Maize Produced Under Irrigation

Maize under irrigation at Mashare

Green Scheme Projects contribute significantly to domestic white maize production in the Republic of Namibia. Green Scheme Projects are managed by Agribusdev, an agency appointed by the Board and who will also assist in implementing certain defined projects dealing with agronomic production as contained in the Agronomic Industry Act (Act 20 of 1992).These schemes are:

  • the Hardap Irrigation Project (near Mariental),
  • Etunda in the Omusati Region,
  • Government project in the Zambezi Region (not currently active), and
  • Government irrigation schemes in the Kavango Region, namely:
    • Musese,
    • Ndonga Lilena,
    • Uvungu-Vungu,
    • Shadikongoro,
    • Shitemo,
    • Sikondo,
    • Mashare.
    • Sikondo

Increasing volumes of white maize under irrigation are also produced locally by commercial producers in the Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Kombat and Otavi areas.

Some irrigation producers plant in cycles. Maize planted in August/ September is harvested in February/March the following year. Maize planted under rain fed conditions in December/January is harvested in the following June/July.


Dryland or Rain Fed White Maize Crop

Rain fed white maize is produced by farmers mainly in the Maize Triangle situated between Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein. It is also produced in the Summerdown and Omaheke areas in the east, as well as in the Zambezi Region.

Since most small-scale communal producers do not know the accurate sizes of their fields and because only a few produce more than they need for domestic annual household consumption, it is difficult to accurately determine the communal hectares planted in the Zambezi Region. The NAB can only gauge production by what is marketed.

Rain fed white maize is normally planted in December but sometimes postponed till January and February the following year, depending on rainfall. The marketing season commences on 1 May and ends on 31 August of the same year or after the domestic production has been bought and mostly milled.

Hectares planted Dry-land 10,451
Hectares planted Irrigation 4,004
TOTAL 14,455

Total tonnage harvested Dry-land 6,100
Total tonnage harvested Irrigation 32,800
TOTAL 38,100

Yield / ha: Dry-land 0.49
Yield / ha: Irrigation 7.98

Zambezi 424
Central and East 32
Hardap and Environs 16
Kavango 7
Maize Triangle and Environs 117
NCR's 2

Planting and Production Statistics for Rain fed and Irrigation

White maize floor producer price (floor price)

  1. The white maize price formula for the staggered floor price is based on a 5-year average of the SAFEX actual spot price, fully inflation adjusted, plus:
  • A transport differential ex Bloemhof landed at a milling facility north or south of a median being Otjiwarongo, and;
  • an 8 % GMO-fee premium

Should the SAFEX spot price rise beyond the 5-year average, the following will be applicable:

  1. A non-staggering floor price based on a fortnight weighted average of the SAFEX actual spot price, plus:
  • A transport differential ex Douglas landed at a milling facility north or south of a median being Otjiwarongo, and;
  • an 8 % GMO-fee premium

N$ 3,778.79 / ton Landed Otavi 19 May 2015
N$ 3,664.79 / ton Landed Windhoek 19 May 2015
N$ 4,188.80 / ton Landed Otavi 10 August 2015
N$ 4,075.80 / ton Landed Windhoek 10 August 2015

In Namibia, white maize is grown exclusively as a staple food and is planted under both irrigation and rain fed conditions.

Financial Year Local Production Marketed (t) Grain Imports (t) Grain Exports (t) Meal Exports (t) Meal Exports: Equivalent of grain (t) Netto domestic consumption (t) Floor Price Otavi N$ **
2007/8 44,642 60,141 300 610 549 103,934 2,006.16
2008/9 51,832 111,714 3,150 35,078 31,571 128,825 2,030.93
2009/10 49,566 83,903 230 13,678 12,311 120,928 2,780.49
2010/11 47,961 81,111 - 6,309 5,679 123,393 2,614.00
2011/12 63,228 55,305 72 2,192 1,973 116,488 2,831.37
2012/13 72,438 105,742 - 11,124 10,012 168,168 2,998.00
2013/14 36,694 170,234 - 340 306 206,622 3,169.00
2014/15 69,433 82,527 - 0 0 151,960 3,302.00
201516 38,900 78,859 - 0 0 117,759 3,617.00


Marketing mechanism

During the white maize marketing period, no import permits are issued by AMTA. This prevents domestically produced grain from being undercut by imported maize from countries where it is subsidised or sometimes sold below production cost. During this period, the locally produced grain is sold within the parameters of the Marketing Agreement, mutually agreed upon between organised producers (such as Agronomy Producer’s Association, Likwama Regional Farmer’s Union) and organised processors that form the Namibian Grain Processors’ Association (NGPA). The Agreement makes provision for the orderly marketing and minimum guaranteed floor price mechanism based on South African Futures Exchange (SAFEX) 5 year average.

Yellow Maize:

Yellow maize is cultivated and imported for animal feed only. This commodity is imported and exported by way of permits for statistical purposes only.

Go to the Wheat SAFEX graph for the latest Wheat prices
White Maize SAFEX
Go to the White Maize SAFEX graph for the latest White Maize prices

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