White Maize

Namibia, like the rest of mid and southern Africa, produces white maize. Corn (yellow maize) is produced internationally for cattle feed, but African countries produce white maize for human consumption. As one of Namibian staple food grains, white maize is produced under dry-land as well as under irrigation.

Although the local production has shown a gradual increase during the past good rainy seasons, Namibia remains a net grain importer.

White maize produced under irrigation

The Green Scheme Projects contribute significantly to domestic white maize production. These Projects (Musese and Mashare excluded) are managed on behalf of the government, by Agribusdev. The Green Scheme Projects are:

  • 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.

The Hardap Irrigation Scheme outside Mariental in the south, irrigates from the Hardap Dam.

Increasing volumes of white maize under irrigation are also produced locally by commercial producers in the Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Kombat and Otavi areas as well as in the eastern production areas namely Summerdown and Hochfeld.

Some irrigation producers plant in cycles. Maize planted in August/ September is harvested in February/March the following year. Maize planted in December/January is harvested in the following May/June.

White maize produced under rainfed conditions

Dry-land or rainfed white maize is mainly produced in the Maize Triangle situated between Tsumeb, Otavi and Grootfontein as well as in the Summerdown and Hochfeld areas in the Omaheke Region and, in the Zambezi and Kavango Regions.

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

The white maize planting season depends on the specific rainy season. Normally, the maize is planted between December and the end of January the next year. The marketing season commences on 1 May each year and ends when the domestic production has been bought and mostly milled.

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