Namibia temporarily bans maize, pearl millet imports to protect local producers

Namibia will temporarily discontinue white maize imports starting June 1 until the local harvest has been taken up and partially milled, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) announced this week.

NAB CEO Fidels Mwazi informed mahangu processors that their import permits will only be valid until June 30.

Mahangu, commonly known as pearl millet, is an ancient crop indigenous to Africa. Unlike exotic maize and wheat, pearl millet is a hardy local grain able to grow in areas of low soil fertility and high temperature, in soils with high salinity and low pH.

“Due to good rainfall experienced in most of the production zones, a total of 3,000 tons is expected to be marketed to millers and silos during this upcoming marketing season,” Mwazi said.

Mahangu is mainly produced in the northern regions of Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati.

According to recent estimates by the NAB, the projected local white maize demand for the next six months in Namibia stands at 70,000 metric tons while the expected harvest to be marketed to processors and silos by Namibian producers stands at 64,039 metric tons.

The projected local mahangu formal market demand for the next six months stands at 1,800 metric tonnes with Namibian producers expected to market 1,823 metric tonnes to processors.

The NAB said millers refusing to take up maize from producers during the restricted import period will not be given import permits and producers are requested to report such cases to the NAB.