What is grown in Namibia

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The Namibian economy is focused on agriculture - mainly livestock -, fishing and mining, which are among the country's main foreign exchange earners.
Furthermore, Namibia is one of the largest diamond producers in the world and has established itself as a popular destination in international and regional tourism.

Agriculture in Namibia

If water evaporation in an area rises more than ten times the amount of precipitation, it is classified as a desert worldwide. Almost half of the surface of Namibia can therefore be described as a desert - but the desert is alive!

Countless small animals but also rodents, antelopes, predators and even elephants and rhinos survive in the desert thanks to adaptation mechanisms. It is therefore not surprising that farmers have also populated these areas for use by pets. The reclamation of the usable areas for animal husbandry brought with it high technical requirements. Water had to be developed, farms were fenced in for the purpose of meaningful grazing, predators and herds of wild animals had to be confronted.

Today farming is at a very high technical, financial and scientific level. The southwest of Namibia hardly receives any rain. Precipitation increases steadily towards the northeast, so that the center of the country gets around 350mm and the extreme north up to 400mm / m2. These are averages that vary widely, and long dry seasons with disastrous consequences are not uncommon.

Huge areas with sparsely growing grasses characterize the south of the country. To the northeast, the grass vegetation becomes more and more lush, more and more shrubs, acacia and other deciduous trees become part of the vegetation, right up to the African forest in the far northeast.
That is why Namibia is a country of ruminants!
Naturally growing grass forms the basic foodstuff for the animal world.

Different breeds of sheep, more frugal than cattle, are kept in the dry parts of Namibia. The Karakul sheep are particularly undemanding and are bred to produce fur. Swakara, the Namibian trademark of these furs, is known worldwide in the fashion industry.
For the production of goat and sheep meat, special breeds have been bred for the arid regions. The Boerbock goat, but also Dorper and the Damaralandschaf belong to it.

The central highlands and savannas of the northern Kalahari are particularly suitable for cattle farming. Weaned calves are produced through suckler cow husbandry. The rearing of these calves on our natural pastures through to animals ready for slaughter, especially oxen, is an important branch of the business.
The herdbook breeding of small and large cattle in order to supply commercial farmers with breeding material is at a very high level in Namibia. Breeding associations are linked to international centers. Breeding value estimates in order to achieve genetic progress is thus guaranteed. The most common cattle breeds are Brahman, Bonsmara and Simmental cattle. There are also various other races from many parts of the world. Farmers who produce cattle for the slaughter market make extensive use of targeted crossbreeding in order to achieve particularly good results.

In Namibia, the veterinary status of the country is strictly observed. The central and southern part of Namibia corresponds to the European standard. The north still has problems with foot-and-mouth disease and pulmonary disease, and export opportunities there are limited.
With a small population of only around two million people in Namibia, we are forced to export around 80% of our meat products. South Africa is an obvious and traditional market for Namibia. We sell animals there "on the hoof", ie live, including lamb, goat and beef, which is slaughtered in Namibia.
The original “Lomé Agreement” gave Namibia access to the EU's sales markets - a very lucrative business, but also linked to the fulfillment of very high demands. The EU regulations on keeping and slaughtering animals also apply in Namibia. For example, growth stimulants must not be used, and animal husbandry on the farms must be species-appropriate, healthy and environmentally friendly. Namibia's export slaughterhouses also meet all international requirements and are classified as world class.
The share of Namibian meat in world trade is still minimal, which is why it is important that only the best quality is exported. The valuable cuts are vacuum packed, stored at a temperature between 0 - 4 ° C for at least six weeks, and then delivered to niche markets with special requirements. This meat - which was only produced on natural pastures and professionally slaughtered and packaged - is particularly valued by gourmets in Europe!

Livestock farming for the production of meat on natural pastures is the most important branch of Namibian agriculture. However, other activities, though diversified and fragmented, are also carried out. The same applies here, like almost everywhere in Africa - we produce what we cannot use and use what we cannot produce.

Because of its climatic conditions, Namibia is not a country where arable farming is practiced on a large scale. In the northern parts of the country with the higher levels of precipitation and water-bearing border rivers, there is huge potential, but it has hardly been used so far.
Namibia produces around half of its domestic corn requirement, the rest is imported. The cultivation of sorghum (millet) in the northern areas is limited to smallholders, but plays an important role in the food supply of these areas.

Grain, wheat, sugar cane and legumes are grown in very small quantities. It is gratifying, however, that the production of fruit and vegetables has increased significantly, so that we will probably be able to become self-sufficient in the foreseeable future.

The situation is similar with poultry production. Each farm produces for its own consumption. For some time, however, there has been a modern poultry farm that not only covers the demand within Namibia, but is also active on the export market.

In earlier times, milk and milk products were produced in large quantities via the "Dairy Ranch" system, several million pounds of butter were exported annually. This system has given way to other production methods and milk and dairy products are currently supplied by modern, intensive dairy farms. Almost 50% of the domestic demand is imported from South Africa and around the world.

In the last few decades a new agricultural specialty has developed in the desert on the border river to South Africa. These are table grapes, the quality of which is favored by the climate in the Gariep river valley and the lack of rainfall. Wonderful grapes are exported to Europe early in the season. A branch of the business that is very lucrative and expanding very quickly.

Unlike many other countries in the world, quite a large part of the land is privately owned as farms. A substantial part of Namibia's wild animal population can be found in the wild on these farms. It is therefore a matter of course that wildlife management also belongs to the activities in agriculture, which means that the farm owners are responsible for active nature conservation.

 More about agriculture ...

Breeding for the meat and dairy industry

Chicken farms for egg and meat production

Year-round free range

Hoodia cultivation for drug production

Brahmin cows with offspring
at the potion

Two young bulls measure their strength