There is a likelihood that the retail prices for mahangu flour and maize meal could increase, as a result of poor harvests caused by this year’s drought conditions.
According to Stephen Limbili, acting national mahangu manager at the Namibia Agronomic Board, the level of mahangu stocks “does not look good at all” because the production and harvest was very low in most producing regions.
“Because the available stock is not enough to satisfy the demand of commercial mahangu millers until the next harvest, we have granted them import permits,” said Limbili. “However, we are encouraging millers to first buy whatever surplus is available directly from individual local farmers or through Agriculture Development Centres.”
Commercial millers are, however, optimistic that the maize harvest in the Kavango and Hardap irrigation areas will counter-balance the shortage of maize in the domestic market, and provide a cushion against price increases that could result from importing huge quantities of maize in the open market.
Maize production last year was at a record high of nearly 80,000t, versus this year’s harvest of just 35,000t. “Total dry-land production is about 4,000t, while the irrigation areas in Kavango and Hardap are expected to produce more than 85% of the harvest at marginally more than 30,000t” said Ian Collard, MD of Namib Mills. – New Era