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Worst drought in decades in Nam worsens

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The worst drought in decades in Namibia has deepened, according to the latest Namibia Crop Prospect and Food Security Situation Report.

Issued by the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) in March 2013, the country is hard hit by drought and as a result crop production showed a negative outlook, poor grazing conditions are experienced as drought conditions intensify, and the food security situation is weakening.

Poor rainfall performance has been dominating the season, since the start in October last year up to February 2013.

“Most parts of the country received little amount of rainfall, which is way too far from normal, except the extreme north-east where the rainfall amount received is near to normal levels,” it stressed.

According to Meteorological Services of Namibia, since the start of the 2012/2013 rainfall season, till February this year, both months recorded extremely low amount than normal. Namibia received below normal rains and according to rain-fed crop producers, poor rainfall performance has been seen in the forms of prolonged dry spells, erratic, sporadic and insufficient rainfalls since October 2012 up to February 2013.

Drought conditions have been greatly intensifying especially in the second half of the season and these conditions are more severe in the southern part of the country where the rainy season has hardly started in earnest.

Provisional estimates indicated that, most cereal crop producing regions are expecting extremely below average harvest, following poor rainfall performance coupled with swarms of Army worms. Rainfall performance has been very poor in the rain-fed crop producing regions, resulting in reduction in planted areas and subsequently, the production. According to farmers, poor rainfall performance was experienced in the forms of prolonged dry spells, erratic, sporadic and insufficient rainfall and this has led to poor crop germination and wilting of crops.

It is indicated that the forecast harvest for maize in the communal area (Caprivi and Kavango regions) is expected to drop by about 48 per cent below average and 13 per cent lower than last season.

Expected maize harvest in the commercial area is also expected to decrease by 3 per cent of average and 53 per cent below last seasons’ harvest. Production prospect for pearl millet indicated that, the harvest is expected to decrease by 47 per cent below average and 41 per cent lower than last season.

Furthermore, sorghum production has also showed a negative prospect with its harvest likely to decrease by 35 per cent below average and 27 per cent lower than last season. Wheat is a winter crop and production thereof start during the month of May, hence for the purpose of national aggregate analysis, last season harvest was used in the 2012/2013 production forecast. As a country, national coarse aggregate production (maize, millet, sorghum and wheat) indicated that a reduction in harvest of 25 per cent below average and 42 per cent lower than last season can be expected.

Under normal circumstance, food security situation improve as from the month of March, when most seasonal crops such as squash, melons, legumes, etcetera, become available and ready for consumption, till the main harvest in May. However, due to drought condition prevailing in the regions, availability of these produce is very limited.

“According to the Regional Council Offices, the number of households and people facing food insecurity is increasing. At the time of the assessment, no food distribution is taking place in the regions as part from the Caprivi region, which started early February, the San and Ovatue people and Kunene region which was declared as drought stricken region,” it noted.

The information in the report was obtained during the crop assessment mission conducted in the Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions by the crop assessment team as from 05 February to 01 March 2013.

WINDHOEK: The worst drought in decades in Namibia has deepened, according to the latest Namibia Crop Prospect and Food Security Situation Report.

Issued by the Namibia Early Warning and Food Information Unit (NEWFIU) in March 2013, the report says the country is hard hit by drought and as a result, crop production showed a negative outlook, poor grazing conditions are experienced as drought conditions intensify, and the food security situation is weakening.

Poor rainfall performance has been dominating the season since the start of the season in October last year up to February 2013.

“Most parts of the country received little amounts of rainfall, which is way too far from normal, except the extreme north-east where the rainfall amount received is near to normal levels,” it stressed.

According to the Namibia Meteorological Services, since the start of the 2012/2013 rainfall season, till February this year, both months recorded extremely lower amounts of rain than normal. According to rain-fed crop producers, poor rainfall performance has been seen in the forms of prolonged dry spells, erratic, sporadic and insufficient rainfalls since October last year up to February 2013.

Drought conditions have been greatly intensifying, especially in the second half of the season, and these conditions are more severe in the southern part of the country where the rainy season has hardly started in earnest.

Provisional estimates indicated that most cereal crop-producing regions are expecting extremely below average harvests following poor rainfall performance coupled with swarms of Army worms.

The lack of rain in the rain-fed crop producing regions has resulted in a reduction in planted areas and subsequently, production has been affected. The prolonged dry spells, erratic, sporadic and insufficient rainfall has led to poor crop germination and wilting of crops.

It is indicated that the forecast harvest for maize in the communal area (Caprivi and Kavango Regions) is expected to drop by about 48 per cent below average and will be 13 per cent lower than last season.

Expected maize harvest in the commercial area is also expected to decrease by three per cent below average and 53 per cent below last season’s harvest. Production prospects for pearl millet indicate that the harvest is expected to decrease by 47 per cent below average and will be 41 per cent lower than last season.

Furthermore, sorghum production has also showed a negative prospect, with its harvest likely to decrease by 35 per cent below average and likely to be 27 per cent lower than last season. Wheat is a winter crop and production thereof starts during the month of May, hence for the purpose of national aggregate analysis, last season’s harvest was used in the 2012/2013 production forecast.

National coarse aggregate production (including maize, millet, sorghum and wheat) is expected to be 25 per cent below average and 42 per cent lower than last season.

Under normal circumstances, the food security situation would improve as from the month of March, when most seasonal crops such as squash, melons, legumes, and more become available and ready for consumption until the main harvest in May.

However, due to drought conditions prevailing in the regions, availability of these types of produce is very limited.

“According to the regional council offices, the number of households and people facing food insecurity is increasing. At the time of the assessment, no food distribution is taking place in the regions apart from the Caprivi Region, which started early February, the San and Ovatue people and Kunene Region, which was declared a drought-stricken region,” the report noted.

The information in the report was obtained during the crop assessment mission conducted in the Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions by the crop assessment team from 05 February to 01 March 2013.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130409/worst-drought-decades-nam-worsens