Omuthiya – The Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) expects a white maize harvest of 70,000 tonnes from the maize triangle and from the central-east Summerdown area this year.
The Maize Triangle includes Otavi, Tsumeb and Grootfontein, while the central-east Summerdown includes the areas around Gobabis and the southeastern parts.
The 70,000 tonnes maize projection is a significant increase compared to the 45,000 tonnes harvested during the last cropping season when there was a marked reduction in output.
NAB estimates that around 5,000 hectares will be cultivated in the Maize Triangle and another 3,000 hectares in the central-east areas of Gobabis.
The NAB estimates could rise as some farmers are still cultivating, as the late rains continue to fall.
“We expect maize production in the commercial Maize Triangle and central-east Summerdown areas, because these areas received quite some good rains and have planted a lot of their available land, although the exact hectares will only be determined at the end of planting.
“As the rain prospect gets better they plant more, therefore at this point in time we need follow-up rains after the seeds are in the ground and when the crop reaches the flowering stage. That way we will have a good harvest,” said NAB manager for white maize and wheat Antoneitte Venter.
Venter said the Zambezi Region’s small-scale farmers are expected to produce a maximum of 6,000 tonnes, although she said production will be affected by too much rain that had fallen in some areas, while the irrigated areas will produce half of the total harvest.
A preliminary report issued by NAB last October indicated that dry land production areas of the Maize Triangle contributed only 7,219 tonnes of white maize due to a severe dry spell in the planting season.
The central-east areas near Summerdown contributed 2,647 tonnes and the Zambezi Region 950 tonnes.
Irrigated areas are envisioned to make a total contribution of 34,234 tonnes, with Kavango Region leading the way with 17,007 tonnes. Hardap and its environs are expected to deliver 6,270 tonnes to bring the total to 45,050 tonnes.
However, this estimate is likely to increase this year.
The scientific officer in the Ministry of Agriculture’s, Water and Forestry stationed at Tsumeb regional office, Lukas Kaolongo, echoed similar sentiments, noting that round about 60 percent of the 3,000 hectares of arable land in the Tsumeb district has been cultivated.
Kaolongo said since the onset of the rain season they have received around 390 millimetres of rain, compared to only 200 millimetres over the same period last year.
An optimistic Kaolongo confirmed that this year 60 percent of the land has now been cultivated, surpassing the 30 percent planted over the past few years, noting that although most areas were cultivated in recent years the crops often wilted before the flowering stage.