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Publication | 2020

Namibia: Acute Food Insecurity Situation October 2019 - March 2020 and Projection for April - September 2020

Between October 2019 and March 2020, an estimated 430,000 people are facing severe acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3+) and require urgent humanitarian action. The most affected regions are Hardap, Kavango West, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omaheke, Omusati, and Zambezi, which are classified as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis). Crisis conditions are mainly due to the poor rainfall in the previous planting season which led to a significant decline in cereal production in 2019. Water shortages also contributed to significant livestock deaths in the northwestern and southern regions. 

In the projection period between April and September 2020, an estimated 360,000 people are expected to experience severe acute food insecurity.  The most affected regions are Hardap, Khomas, Kunene, Omusati and Zambezi, which are classified as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis). A slight improvement of the situation is expected in Kavango West, Ohangwena and Omusati that are attributable to the improved rains, and favourable cereal prospects in 2020. 

Key Drivers

  • The main driver of food insecurity is reduced agricultural production in 2019. Aggregate production is estimated below‑average by 60,000 tonnes. The main crops produced in Namibia include maize and millet, which decreased by 26% and 89% respectively between 2018 and 2019. 
  • Erratic, below‑average rainfall and drought conditions were the main drivers of the decline in production. Unfavourable weather conditions affected the entire country, but the most affected areas included important cereal‑producing northern regions of Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto, where cumulative seasonal rainfall volumes were between 60 and 70 percent below average. 
  • Severe water shortages affected rangeland conditions, resulting in a deterioration of livestock body conditions and an increase in deaths. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 60,000 livestock died in 2019, with northwestern and southern provinces being the most affected.