Locust invasions, animal disease pressure Namibia farming revival

Locusts exposing millions of southern African citizens to food insecurity

from ALFRED SHILONGO in Windhoek, Namibia
WINDHOEK, (CAJ News) – FAVOURABLE weather conditions are presenting a dilemma to Namibia’s agricultural sector.

This is dampening prospects of increased yields this year.

The positive weather, while conducive for crops , has created a favourable environment for insect breeding and multiplication.

This has fuelled infestations of the African Migratory Locust (AML), Red Locust and Brown Locust mainly in the southern parts of the country.

Outbreaks of the locusts were first detected in early 2020, remain a threat to crop and pasture production in 2021.

Reports from the Southern African country indicate that the number of AML swarms have increased between January and April 2021.

The government of President Hage Gengob is currently responding to the pestilence, with support from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

They are establishing the level of infestation and assessing the extent of the damage caused to crops and pastures.

Meanwhile, in the north-central and north-eastern regions, there have been several outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease since the last quarter of 2020.

In response, the government has implemented containment measures and vaccination campaigns that have successfully controlled the outbreaks in the largely desert ranchland nation.

According to the global information and early warning system (GIEWS), livestock production is still anticipated to remain at an average to above-average level in 2021.

“Pasture conditions and water availabilities for livestock are generally satisfactory across most parts of the country, except in the northwest where experts reported reduced rains,” FAO stated.

Namibia is net importer of cereals. Imports account for about two-thirds of the national cereal consumption requirement on average.

Cereal imports, mainly maize and wheat, in the 2020/21 marketing year (May/April), are estimated at 295 000 tonnes.

This is about 20 percent less than the previous year.

It reflects the significant cereal harvest Namibia obtained in 2020.

Imports are mostly sourced from South Africa, the southern neighbour.

Namibia’s economic recovery is expected to be modest in 2021.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects a 2,6 percent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 of the country of over 2,5 million people.

– CAJ News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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