Marketing of wild fruit excluded at fresh produce hubs

08 Jul 2013 08:10
RUNDU, 08 JUL (NAMPA) - The Fresh Produce Business Hubs at Ongwediva and Rundu which will become operational in September this year, will not market wild fruit until such time as the fruit has been certified.
Lucas Lungameni, the general manager for the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) which will be responsible for managing these two centres, told Nampa on Monday the Fresh Produce Business Hubs will not cater for wild fruit such as 'matu', 'maguni' and 'makweyo', which are all indigenous delicacies producing sweet liquids and seeds.
Lungameni explained that experts need to conduct a study on the wild fruit and agree on a Good Agricultural Practices' (GAP) standard for it before it goes through the certification process.
He noted that wild fruit will only be marketed once it has gone through all these processes, which are carried out to ensure that it does not affect the fresh produce negatively in terms of an unfair advantage, because wild fruit grow without human assistance.
The Kavango Region has a variety of wild fruit which are collected from the bushes by locals and sold at open markets and alongside the Trans-Caprivi highway.
?There is a need to conduct a study on wild fruit because we need certification about where it is grown,? the AMTA General Manager said.
The news has not gone down well with the wild fruit gatherers as they were hoping to benefit from the new marketing facilities.
Meanwhile, Lungameni said the forthcoming training for about 60 selected horticultural farmers who will be trained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) this month on horticultural production, and more specifically on GAP, will not include wild fruit gatherers or sellers.
The training will certify trainees as horticultural producers, and such farmers will be expected to train others in their respective villages.
The multi-million dollar Fresh Produce Business Hubs at Rundu and Ongwediva were officially inaugurated by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in March this year.
The Fresh Produce Business Hub at Rundu, 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.
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.