THE Namibia Agricultural Union’s (NAU) Public Relations Officer, Tanja Dahl, has cautioned farmers impacted by droughts to adopt a cautious approach as next year’s rainfall season offers little promise.
“Farmers are therefore advised to approach the current situation conservatively and to plan ahead by assessing current conditions and the grazing available to them. If you do not have sufficient grazing, it would be sensible to sell as soon as possible, whilst livestock is still in a fairly good condition. As the condition of animals deteriorates, prices will decrease,” she said.
Dahl explained that the 2020/2021 rainfall season witnessed decent rainfall, resulting in a partial carry-over of grazing for the 2023 rainfall season. However, this year’s crop harvest, particularly mahangu and maize, remained “far below average,” with certain regions experiencing complete failures.
Dahl’s remarks are supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform’s Crop Prospects and Food Security Situation Report, which revealed that several areas, particularly in the north-central regions, experienced poor and delayed rainfall as well as prolonged dry spells during the 2022/2023 rainfall season.
“The poor rainfall performance was seen in the forms of erratic rainfall patterns with frequent prolonged dry spells, accompanied by high temperatures,” the ministry’s report read.
Adding to the challenges, Dahl revealed that the forecast for next year’s rainfall season does not instil confidence either. She stressed that the consecutive occurrence of two drought years is likely to lead to a catastrophic situation for farmers in the country.
Nonetheless, she acknowledged that Namibia is a highly fluctuating seasonal rainfall area, and previous forecasts have proven to be unreliable.
“Forecasts for the past rainy season indicated above average precipitation when most areas throughout the country received the lowest rainfall since the year 2000,” she added.