Agriculture is one of Namibia’s most significant industries, with the majority of the country’s inhabitants relying on it for their lives, either directly or indirectly. Agriculture has contributed little over 4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the previous five years (excluding fisheries). Livestock farming accounts for around two-thirds of agricultural output, with crop farming and forestry accounting for the other third. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, livestock contributed 3.5 percent of nominal GDP in 2020, up from 3 percent in 2019. Meat processing (which is classified as manufacturing by the Namibian government) adds an additional 0.2 to 0.4 percent of GDP.
In this blog we are going to share with you the interesting agriculture practices in Namibia and why this landscape works well for farmers.
Different Farming Practises
Live animal exports (mainly cattle and sheep) have historically accounted for almost two-thirds of agricultural exports in terms of value. However, the overall value of agricultural exports was practically equal to the entire value of meat and meat products (which are listed under manufacturing rather than agriculture). The majority of meat is sold to Europe and South Africa, with China potentially becoming a new market. Livestock production continues to be a source of foreign cash for Namibia. Namibia became the first and only African country to be allowed to export beef to the United States in 2016.
Exports of crops, vegetables, fruits, and forestry products have increased in value in recent years, with table grapes contributing the most.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has two projects targeted at enhancing local agricultural production: the Green Scheme and the National Horticulture Development Initiative. The Green Scheme promotes the growth of irrigated agronomic output, with a goal of reaching 27,000 hectares along Namibia’s perennial rivers within five years after its beginning in 2004. Five years later, the government admitted that the Green Scheme had fallen short of many of its objectives; fewer than 9,000 hectares were irrigated, and some Green Scheme enterprises were experiencing financial difficulties. The area of irrigated land under the project has remained essentially unaltered, despite the fact that the time term has been extended to 15 years. Nonetheless, the government has opted to pursue its Green Scheme program, which is seen as a potential anti-poverty option.
The government’s goal with the NHDI is to boost local production and make the sale of fruits, vegetables, animal feed, and other horticultural goods easier. An import substitution program known as the Namibian Market Share Promotion is one of the NHDI’s components (NMSP). Importers are required to acquire a certain amount of their revenue within Namibia under the NMSP. Local horticultural output increased by 52 percent from 2004 to 2010 as a consequence of the NHDI (and other efforts), and by 2010 had achieved an import substitution level of over 22 percent, up from 7% before the project began. In order to promote the NHDI, the government established the Fresh Produce Hub in the northern areas, with the goal of increasing food production while maintaining freshness.
Protecting Local Farmers
The government (through the Agronomic Board) has adopted laws to limit particular grains in order to protect local farmers, stimulate larger production of grain products, and satisfy its food security goals. White maize, wheat, mahangu (pearl millet), and goods made from these grains are all regulated. Only licences granted by the Agronomic Board and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry can be used to import or export controlled grain crops (MWAF). Specific limits apply to each regulated grain, however these do not include price regulations. To learn more about the limitations, go to the Agronomic Board’s website (see below).
The Cartagena Protocol is signed by Namibia. The use of bio-engineered (genetically modified) crops is governed by the Biosafety Act of 2006.
Namibia is one of the sunniest nations on the planet, with an average of 300 days of sunlight each year. Because the environment is often dry, potential evaporation is greater than precipitation, resulting in extremely low humidity.
In general, Namibia’s climate may be defined as hot and dry, with significant seasonal and even day-to-day variations. However, there are significant climatic variances across the locations in terms of precipitation and temperature. From the southwest to the northeast, yearly precipitation increases from 0 mm to a high of 600 mm.
The Namib’s northern section is mostly gravel plains, while the centre area is famed for its massive sand dunes, which are among the tallest in the world. The Namib Desert is the world’s oldest desert, covering an area of around 95.000 km2. The temperature ranges from 50 degrees Celsius during the day to minus zero degrees Celsius at night. Despite these harsh circumstances, a variety of animal and plant species have evolved to live in the desert over millions of years.
Namibia’s Central Plateau is the country’s biggest landform. To the west, the Central Plateau meets the Great Escarpment, and to the east, the Kalahari Basin. It stands between 1000 and 2000 metres tall. At roughly 1000 metres, the Etosha Pan is located in the north of the plateau. Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, is situated at 1700 metres above sea level on the middle plains, with surrounding mountains rising to above 2000 metres. The Central Plateau drops to roughly 1200 metres in the south.
The Brandberg Mountain range, which includes Namibia’s highest peak, the Königstein at 2579 metres, the Erongo Mountains, and the Spitzkoppe, are not part of the Great Escarpment since they are volcanic in nature and belong to the Damara Formation.
The Kavango-Caprivi region, with its sub-tropical temperatures, is a unique natural location in Namibia, which is usually desert. The region is located in northeastern Namibia and creates a strip that stretches across the African continent. Wildlife is abundant due to the humid environment, and several portions of the Kavango-Caprivi region have been designated as national parks or other protected areas.
— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin