The Namibian Agronomic Board, at its Board meeting on the 28th March 2017 noted the predicted marketable white maize harvest for mid-2017 to be approximately 69 000 tons. If one would add the possible “second” harvest of approximately 3 000 tons from the Green Schemes on the northern rivers (to be planted as soon as the current crop have been harvested), it would bring the annual total to about 72 000 tons. Namibia’s highest marketed white maize harvest since Independence has been 72 438 tons in the 2012/13 financial year. It must be emphasised that this is an estimation and that unforeseen factors can still change these figures.
Approximately 55% of the maize is cultivated under irrigation and 45% under rain-fed conditions. The steady increase in hectares under irrigation under the Government Green Schemes is also increasing the percentage of irrigation maize and therefore the overall import substitution. Currently 59% of white maize irrigation hectares fall under the Green Schemes, while 41% fall under the private sector. Rain-fed maize falls almost exclusively under the private sector, including many small-scale producers in the Zambesi Region.
This estimated good harvest is in spite of the army worm plague that had created havoc with maize farmers of the Green Schemes, the maize triangle and the East as well as the Zambesi Region. Most badly affected farmers, at their own costs, acted swiftly and could therefore save most of their hoped for harvest.
Once the Namibian harvest has been taken up between May and probably October, Namibian maize millers will get import permits to import from the country of their choice. South Africa, with an estimated record harvest of above 14 million tons of maize should have no problems supplying their annual Namibian miller customers.