Supply shortages, high demand drive potato prices up in Namibia

Namibia is experiencing a surge in potato prices due to a local supply shortage, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) says.

According to Auguste Fabian, the NAB spokesperson, the supply trend for potatoes in Namibia has shifted due to a local supply shortage.

"In the first two weeks of October, no harvesting of potatoes took place, and in the second half of October, only a few farmers came in with approximately 425 tons," Fabian said last week.

Domestic demand for potatoes in Namibia is around 4,000 tonnes per month, with local production meeting only 5-10% of that demand.

To address this gap, Fabian said the borders have been fully opened for potato imports throughout October, allowing traders to import 90% of potatoes, primarily from South Africa, to augment local production.

Fabian attributed the recent rise in potato prices to the imbalance between supply and demand.

"The common rule is that the lower the supply of a commodity, the higher the price," she said.

However, she also noted that local potato production is expected to increase in November, with an estimated 1,340 tonnes projected to be harvested, which could alleviate the supply shortage.

Despite the supply challenges, the demand for potatoes in Namibia is still consistently high.

Fabian said potatoes are produced under irrigation. Therefore, because they are not rainfed, "droughts or floods have no direct relationship with the price increases. The price increase is mainly attributed to scarcity and, at times, cost of production". 

Regarding rising production costs, Fabian said there was an increase fertiliser prices, partly due to the ripple effect from the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but nothing significant in recent times.

She also said traders add a high mark-up percentage as the product is scarce, and the farm gate price is high. 

She said NAB regulations do not affect potato prices significantly. Unlike other horticultural commodities under the scheme, potatoes are open for importation, and traders can procure them locally or through import.

"What affects the price is the price of potatoes in the importing country. When the price is low, it pushes the price for potatoes down," Fabian explained.

Fabian emphasised the potential for investment in potato production.

She encouraged potential investors to consider making potatoes their priority crop on their investment lists to increase their availability in Namibia.

Price survey

According to The Brief's five-month (June-October) supermarket survey in Windhoek, the average potato price across eight stores was N$26.76 per kilogramme.

Pick n Pay consistently had the highest prices, averaging N$32.59 per kilogramme. However, the potato prices fluctuated, starting at N$28 in June, peaking at N$32.99 in July, then decreasing to N$27.99 in August before rising to N$32.99 in September and again to N$39.99 in October.

In contrast, Choppies consistently offered the most affordable option, with an average of N$18.78 per kilogram during the five months.

Prices started at N$14.95 in June, rose to N$18.99 in July, and continued to N$19.99 in August. They dropped to N$14.99 in September before spiking to N$24.99 in October.

The transition from September to October saw an overall price increase per kilogramme at all eight supermarkets, with Pick n Pay at N$39.99 and Woermannbrock at N$37.99 recording the highest prices.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries