News and Information

Food self-sufficiency still out of Namibia's reach
August 17, 2004

NAMIBIA has not managed to become food self-sufficient during the last 10 years.

Food self-sufficiency still out of Namibia's reach LINDSAY DENTLINGER NAMIBIA has not managed to become food self-sufficient during the last 10 years.

The country met just over half its cereal consumption requirements during this time.

Even in years when cereal production has been good, the country has needed to import significant amounts to cover national requirements.

The national prevalence rate of moderate malnutrition amongst children under the age of five years has increased over the past three years from 0,74 per cent in 2002 to 5,08 per cent at the end of May.

The below average weight for age is used to measure the health and nutritional status of children.

However, severe malnutrition has decreased from 4,78 per cent in 2002 to a current prevalence rate of 0,88 per cent.

The latest production estimate puts the 2003-04 national cereal harvest at 124 000 tonnes - a 36 per cent improvement over last year.

"This is good news for food security at the national level as both the past two consecutive production years produced a below normal harvest," says the latest edition of the Namibia Food Security and Nutrition Bulletin.

However, this situation still puts it at 6 per cent lower than the past five years.

While notable production increases are estimated for all the crop-producing regions compared to last year, the Caprivi and Oshana regions will experience below average production.

Estimates are that about 52,7 per cent of the country's cereal consumption requirements for the 2004-05 marketing season are likely to be met.

This situation reflects as a 12,8 per cent increase in national cereal self-sufficiency compared to last year.

Of the 150 200 tons the country needs to import, 52 800 has already been shipped into the country as commercial imports.

The forecast for the current marketing year (2004-05) is estimated at 134 500 tonnes.

The estimated cereal production together with operating stocks add up to a domestic supply of 167 500 tonnes during the current marketing year.

Assuming a national population figure of 2,02 million and an average per capita cereal consumption of 125 kilograms, the national cereal food use is calculated to be 252 500 tonnes.


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