Food production at risk – The Namibian

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SEVERE load-shedding in South Africa has increased food security risks and financial pressure on farmers,agribusinesses and value chain role-players.

There are fears in Namibia that production will suffer. The Namibian Agronomic Board has a very bleak outlook on crop yields for the first half (2023).

The board predicts shortages in 62% horticulture products that it analyzes, with severe shortages of lettuce,cauliflower and mushroom, tomato, onion, potato and cabbage expected between January and May.

This is the fresh produce Namibia imports from South Africa.

Namibia will continue to be a net importer for food products due to food shortages. This makes consumers vulnerable to changes in regional and global food prices.

The Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), yesterday said that farmers in South Africa are continuing to engage with Eskom, their national power utility.

Agbiz has also participated in numerous meetings with the department o agriculture, land reform and rural development (Eskom) to find ways to reduce the pressure on agribusinesses.

“In the near term, Agbiz has urged for less severe load-shedding in areas under irrigation and food-processing facilities,” it said.

Critical field crops include 20% of maize, 15% soya beans and 34% of sugarcane. These crops are subject to severe challenges due to the extreme heat and dry conditions and limited ability of irrigation.

Agbiz stated that vegetables and fruit also heavily depend on irrigation, and thus face similar challenges in their production.

In the same way, there are concerns in the dairy and poultry industries.

Similar challenges face agribusinesses in various downstream processing activities such as milling,bakeries and abattoirs.

Agbiz stated that it conducted a survey across all sectors last week and that the results are being analysed by a team of experts.

“Insights will be shared as soon as possible.

The survey will also be used to inform possibleinterventions that government and private sector representatives are formulating to ensure a sound approach,” it said.

Analysts at Simonis Storm Securities say it remains to be seen whether the La Niña phenomenon willbring adequate, timely and sufficient rain which Namibian crop farmers need, especially in the north.Last year, due to late rainfalls, the maize triangle experienced major crop harvest losses of over 60%.

“We therefore remain fairly negative on observing improved crop production figures for 2023,” theanalysts say.

Senegaltoday will host African heads of state, government, and development partners. They will be collaborating to map out strategies to unlock Africa’s potential for food production and position Africa to become a breadbasket for the world.

The agenda of the summit under the theme ‘Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience’, is theimprovement of Africa’s food nutrition and security; leveraging the continent’s huge agriculturalresources; boosting international trade, expanding market share, and production and processing valueaddition.

During the summit, heads of state and government will convene sessions to developtransformational country-specific food and agriculture delivery compacts.

During sessions and the overall summit, development partners and the private sectors will play a significant role.

Expectations are that African countries will make concrete political commitments to implement policies to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in Africa.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank Group, said that the event would be a turning point for food sovereignty and resilience across the continent.

“This is the time to invest in Africa’s future.

More than 60% of the remaining arable land in Africa is covered by the continent, and millions of Africans work in agriculture.

With the removal of barriersto agricultural development aided by new investments, it is estimated that Africa’s agricultural outputcould increase from US$280 billion per year to US$1 trillion by 2030,” he said.– Additional reporting IOL News

Source: namibian

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