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Namibian consumers brace for possible increases
Namibian consumers brace for possible increases

Namibian consumers brace for possible increases

FMCG SUPPLIER NEWS - Jul 5th, 08:19

Windhoek - There is a likelihood that the retail prices for maize meal and mahangu flour could increase, because of low grain stock levels as a result of poor harvests this year. 

The level of mahangu stocks, particularly, “does not look good at all” according to Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) acting National Mahangu Manager, Stephen Iimbili. In an interview with New Era yesterday Iimbili said the NAB has already granted its blessing to commercial millers to import grains from abroad. Commercial millers supply maize meal and mahangu flour to retail shops.

However, commercial millers are optimistic that the maize harvest in the Kavango and Hardap irrigation areas would be better, and 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 80 000 tonnes. This year’s harvest however was dismally poor with a mere 35 000 tonnes due to the debilitating drought. “The dry-land production virtually was reduced to zero due to the drought. Total dry-land production is about 4 000 tonnes of the total expected. Luckily, the irrigation areas in Kavango and Hardap are still able to produce marginally more than 30 000 tonnes, which also comprises more than 85 percent of the expected harvest,” managing director of Namib Mills Ian Collard said.

Mahangu production and harvest, though, was very low in most producing regions, with the Omusati and Ohangwena regions most affected with low or no production or harvests, while the Ohikoto, Oshana, Kavango and Caprivi regions all experienced a significantly low harvest.

"As you are aware, recently the President did declare a drought emergency situation in the country. The available stock is not enough to satisfy the demand of our commercial mahangu millers until the next harvest,” said Iimbili.

Iimbili further said some of the commercial millers have already applied for import permits and the permits were granted. However, millers are still reminded that they have an obligation to first buy whatever little surplus is availble from individual local farmers. Such purchases can be effected through the Agriculture Development Centres (ADCs) or directly from the farmers. In fact, Iimbili is requesting individual farmers with surplus production to contact the NAB offices in their region, or the registered millers directly.

"Our priority this year is to give a chance first to millers to buy available surplus, if there is any. People milling mahangu commercially, but are not registered yet are encouraged to register and obtain milling licenses with the NAB. And those currently milling and would like to import should get import permits from the NAB," he said.

The current price for mahangu grains is N$3500 per tonne as agreed upon between mahangu producers and millers' representatives in February this year. "Farmers and millers can as well agree on a better price than the floor price if a miller is willing to pay higher. The issue of the price of Mahangu flour is determined by millers themselves, not the NAB," said Iimbili.From  

Read more about: namibia | grain stocks | food prices | agriculture

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