Namibian farmers expect to produce 8,745 tonnes of onions, which would be 5,318 tonnes more than what the local market needs in the next five months. This is according to the production forecast for July-November 2020 prepared by the Namibian Agronomic Board (NBA) with data from onion producers.
The biggest challenge, however, will be the lack of storage that troubles the industry. The average monthly demand for onions in the country is 685 tonnes which amounts to 3,427 tonnes for the next five months, but farmers are expected to produce 5,076 tonnes specifically for the local market.
This will leave the country with a surplus of 1,649 tonnes that needs to be put in storage. In addition to this, onion growers are expected to produce 3,669 tonnes for export in the next five months, bringing the expected total onion harvest to 8 745 tonnes for 2020 production year.
Despite good numbers from farmers, there will be nowhere to store the surplus output as the country grapples with storage issues.
According to an NAB study done last year, annually Namibia has an oversupply of local onions during the production season (May to December) and a shortage during the off-season (January to April). This means from July the market will be flooded with onions as farmers try to dispose of them during their shelf life. This affects the price farmers can get for their produce.