Oyster farming at Walvis Bay

About 47 percent of the active Namibian population depends on agricultural activities for their livelihood. Most of them are in the subsistence sector.

Agriculture and forestry contributes about 5,9 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Namibia.

The Erongo Region’s whole eastern part and certain western parts are characterized by livestock farming on commercial farms in the districts of Karibib, Usakos and Omaruru, and in the communal areas at Okongwe, Otjohongoro, Otjongoro, Ozondati, Omatjette, Okombahe, Tubusis, Goabeb and Otjimbingwe.

According to the statistics for 2000, the Erongo Region accommodated more than 110,000 goats, nearly 36,000 head of cattle and about 50,000 sheep.

Cattle from commercial and communal farmers can be marketed to Meatco, the national abattoir and procession facility, situated in Windhoek and Okahandja. Abattoirs at local towns are also supplied.

Commercial crop farming is practised in isolated areas such as on the banks of ephemeral Omaruru River at Omaruru.

Some commercial farms serve as hunting or guest establishments, while some have been converted into game farms or reserves, aimed at regional and international tourists.

The commercial farms provide employment to a substantial number of workers.

Livestock farming depends heavily on the rainy season, with the average rainfall varying from below100 mm in the far west to about 300 mm in the far east of the Erongo Region. In a country where surface water is so sparse, some estimates suggest that half of all water used by Namibians is extracted from aquifers, being underground water reserves.

Namibia’s vegetation is strongly influenced by the rainfall. The vegetation in the livestock area of the Erongo Region varies from sparse grassland and shrubland in the dry west, to dense shrubland in the central parts and the east, with moderate to dense cover of shrubs and trees, especially acacias.

The agricultural sector poses development opportunities. Farming methods can be improved upon, land in certain cases can be utilized more productively and the marketing of livestock and products could be bettered.