Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors’ growth dips

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), reveals that the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors fell by 8.8 percent in the Third Quarter (Q3) of 2022, owing to a drop in the sub-sectors of livestock farming and fishing, which dropped by 18.9 percent and 3.1 percent in real value added, respectively.

The NSA notes that the value added to the sector in the Third Quarter (Q3) of 2022 was estimated to be N$3.2 billion in nominal terms, representing 6.4 percent of the GDP (GDP). Namibia’s export earnings from commodities in the ‘Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing sectors totaled N$3.7 billion, while imports totaled N$1.3 billion.Fisheries products brought in the most foreign exchange with N$2.7 billion, followed by agriculture commodities with N$606.0 million. Agriculture commodities topped the list in terms of imports, with a N$747.1 million import bill during the third quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, food inflation continued to rise at a faster rate than other items in the CPI basket, rising by 8.9 percent in comparison to 5.7 percent in the same period in 2021.

Alex Shimuafeni, NSA Statistician General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), says the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sectors continue to play an important role in the economy despite having faced difficult challenges, especially from the pressure of market distortions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 restrictions have exposed the sectors to value chain disruptions, particularly caused by transportation as both the business and consumers are negatively affected by high global energy demands that have been causing fuel, oil, and energy prices to increase across the globe,” he says. Adding that such disruptions have exacerbated the vulnerability of the sector, especially in terms of price volatility.

Based on the NSA agricultural bulletin, the Agriculture sector continues to face high production costs, with fuel prices increasing by 49%, feed prices increasing by 32.5%, and animal health costs increasing by 13.9% in the third quarter of 2021. A moratorium on export and import halted the international trade of live animals.

According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (Nau), there was a 21-day delay in the marketing of live animals due to the closure of the South African border on August 18, 2022.

Likewise, there was a ban on imports from Botswana during the quarter review.

By Observer