White maize is exclusively produced in Namibia for human consumption and is one of Namibia’s staple grains and, a controlled product. The major grain produced in other parts of the world is yellow maize (corn) produced exclusively for animal feed.
White maize is planted under both dry-land conditions and irrigation. The irrigation areas are: the Hardap Irrigation Project and environs, the government projects along the Kavango River and in the Omusati Region as well as a number of farms in the eastern production area and the Maize Triangle. The dry-land production areas are mainly in the Maize Triangle, the Zambezi Region, the Maize Triangle and the eastern production area in the Summerdown environs. There is a correlation between the dry-land and irrigation harvest in an average to good rainy season as indicated in the table below.
Table : White maize planted between November 2016 and January 2017 and the harvest of those plantings marketed as from may to August / September 2018 in the main marketing season ( Second harvests excluded )
|Production Areas||Dry-land||Irrigation||Total volume marketed (t)|
Dec 2016 – Jan 2017
May 2017 – Jan 2018
Nov 2016 – Jan 2018
May 2017 – Jan 2018
|Zambezi Region||No accurate info.||5,988||0||0||5,988|
|Central and Eastern areas||1,833||5,838||140||1,220||7,058|
|Hardap Irrigation and environs||0||0||647||5,935||5,935|
|Maize Triangle and environs||7,862||30,915||1,223||12,782||43,697|
|Irrigation Projects ( Kavango and Omusati Regions)||200||795||2,395||10,690||11,485|
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:
- Ndonga Lilena,
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.