Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries contributed 8.3% of GDP in the first quarter of 2021, up from 6.6 percent the year before.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), the GDP level at current prices was N$45.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020, compared to N$45.3 billion in the same quarter of 2020.
“At sub-sector level, the highest contribution was recorded in livestock farming with a share of 4.9%, followed by fishing with 2.6%, while forestry recorded the least contribution to GDP of 0.3%,” reads the latest report
The agriculture sector is the backbone of the Namibian economy as its biggest employer, and has over the years been one of the significant sectors that have contributed to national coffers. The sector remains a crucial engine due to its nature of creating a source of income, food security, foreign earnings and the provision of raw material to the manufacturing industry.
The sector has, however, been challenged with natural disasters such as the recurring drought in certain areas, as well as the devastating locust outbreak that destroyed valuable grazing land. For Q1 2021, the locust outbreak was reported in January 2021 in some parts of the country.
The report further stated that the livestock subsector was impacted by the foot and mouth disease (FMD), which resulted in restrictions and a ban on the movement of animals within Kavango East and West, the four O’s as well as Kunene and the Tsumkwe constituency in the Otjozondjupa region.
NSA Statistician-General Alex Shimuafeni said the domestic economy fell into a deeper recession, recording a contraction of 6.5% during the first quarter of 2021, compared to a decline of 2.5% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
He stated that real GDP stood at N$31.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021, and when compared to N$34.2 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2020, represents a decline of N$2.2 billion. In nominal terms, GDP stood at N$45.9 billion in the quarter under review, relative to the N$45.3 billion posted in the same quarter of 2020. This shows that the size of the economy shrunk by N$0.6 billion.
Shimuafeni added that Namibia’s earnings from exporting agriculture, forestry and fishery commodities amounted to N$531.2 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to N$575.9 million in the first quarter of 2020, registering a decline of 7.8%.
On the import side, the import bill amounted to N$762.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to N$773.1 million in the first quarter of 2020, registering a decline of 1.3%.
“For the period under review, Namibia recorded a trade deficit in the sector products to the tune of N$231.6 million, compared to a deficit of N$197.2 million registered in quarter one of 2020. The deterioration in the trade balance is owed to the drop in the value of the export of forestry products that declined by 68.7% during the review period,” explained Shimuafeni.
According to the High Economic Intelligence (HEI) analysis over the past five years, the primary sectors contributed 16.8% on average to GDP. The mining and quarrying sector contributed around 10% on average to GDP between 2016 and 2020 on the back of a very good performance of the mining and quarrying activities.
The analysis stated that agriculture reached its peak in 2020 and contributed 9% to GDP, which was attributed to the good rainfall received, and the bumper harvest for cereal crops.
It further recommended that Namibia introduces measures through policies such as improved insolvency and restructuring procedures in order to revive the economy.
“Promote competition to enable the exit and entry of firms to help curb market power, build local capacity for the domestic market for inward linkages (agriculture sector), support displaced workers by gradually refocusing policy support from retention to reallocation, and accelerate digitalisation,” advised the HEI.-