02 Jul 2013 10:50
RUNDU, 02 JUL (NAMPA) - The multi-million-dollar Fresh Produce Business Hubs at Rundu and Ongwediva will only be operational as from September this year.
This follows the recent appointment of Lucas Lungameni as the General Manager for the Agro- Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), which will be responsible for managing these two centres.
Both centres were officially inaugurated by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in March this year, and people have started speculating that the buildings have become ?white elephants? since their inauguration.
The Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub, which is strategically situated along the Trans-Caprivi Highway, will provide the necessary space for bulk cold storage, processing, marketing and value-addition to fresh produce in the region and elsewhere in the country.
Lungameni said in an interview with Nampa on Tuesday that horticultural producers must start mass production as without such production, the hub will not be viable.
A manager has also been appointed for the Rundu hub, and will resume work next month, while the manager for the Ongwediva hub will commence duty sometime this month.
Lungameni said about 60 selected horticultural farmers will be trained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) this month on horticultural production, specifically on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), whereafter they will be certified as horticultural producers.
Such farmers are then expected to train others in their respective villages.
The AMTA General Manager indicated that by 01 September this year, the Fresh Produce Business Hubs will start operating, and farmers can then bring their produce to the hubs.
The centre will provide business opportunities for processing, marketing and value-addition to fresh produce through industrial activities such as sorting, cleaning, grading, packaging, branding, drying, bottling and canning of fresh produce and marketing services.
The Fresh Produce Business Hubs consist of bulk cold storage and marketing facilities, serviced land for agro-processing activities, research and product development facilities, retail centres, open market facilities for vendors as well as a fuel station and truck port, amongst other things.
The fresh hub properties will be managed by AMTA, which will be responsible for the promotion, marketing, processing and value-addition of Namibia?s agricultural produce, as well as the management and maintenance of infrastructure.
The Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub was constructed by China Jiangshi International Cooperation, a Chinese-owned company, at a cost of N.dollars 110 million.