Poland Plays Well in the Namibian Wheat Market
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Wheat, as a winter crop, can only be planted in Namibia under irrigation. Wheat is planted from May to July and harvested and marketed from October to January. The principal Wheat production areas are the hardap Irrigation scheme at Mariental in the south and the government irrigation projects next to the Okavango River. Small portions of Wheat are produced at irrigation farms in the Maize Triangle.
Wheat is a highly-nutritional and widely-cultivated cereal grain. For over seven centuries, Wheat has been raised and harvested in many countries worldwide. It is also the second most consumed grain in the world, after rice, and provides 20% of the global population’s daily protein intake. In Namibia, Wheat is the second highest-consumed staple food crop after maize, yet accounts for the lowest in production. Namibia has a population of 2.7 million.
Due to its ability to be produced in many different types of soils and climatic conditions, Wheat is such an important dietary staple across so many regions. To help producers, processors, and the general public in learning more about this essential global agricultural commodity, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has prepared this guide on everything you need to know about Wheat grain from international, regional, and domestic perspectives.
Namibia is a net importer of Wheat and imports about 90% of its Wheat requirement annually. Therefore, this presents an opportunity for increased local production of Wheat in Namibia. The NAB has implemented a grain marketing scheme to ensure that local producers have a secured market in Namibia, as local processors have committed through a mutual agreement to buy locally produced Wheat at a price not less than the set minimum. Additionally, to promote value addition in the country, the Namibian Government, through the NAB, is implementing import restrictions on Wheat flour, and thus only the raw materials can be imported, and, in most cases, only specialized Wheat flour can be imported.
However, climate variability is one of the most common factors affecting Wheat production globally, and Namibia is no exception. Therefore, there is a need for Namibia to continuously conduct research trials on different varieties of Wheat to find varieties that can perform better in the Namibian climatic conditions. The other important aspect of unlocking Namibia’s potential to increase Wheat production is reducing Wheat input production costs. There is also a need for the crop industry to collectively lobby commercial or development banks to offer reliable and affordable financing for crop production for our farmers to be more competitive from a production cost viewpoint.
Africa produces over 25 million tons of Wheat on 10 million ha, accounting for 3.3% of the global total Wheat production. The most crucial Wheat-producing countries in Africa are; Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, in descending order. Egypt alone accounts for the most significant production in Africa (8.9 million tons). In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa is the biggest producer of Wheat, projected to produce about 2.148 million tons of Wheat for the 2019/20 marketing season. Furthermore, South Africa estimated its total demand for Wheat to be at 3,569,600 tons.
Wheat Import in Namibia
In 2021, Namibia imported Wheat worth $15.1 million, becoming the world’s 134th most significant importer of Wheat. In the same year, Wheat was Namibia’s 81st most imported product. Namibia imports Wheat primarily from: South Africa ($4.95 million), Poland ($3.15 million), the United States ($2.57 million), Germany ($2.57 million), and Canada ($1.89 million).
Other sources: NAB.COM
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