14 Oct 2014 14:10pm
RUNDU, 14 OCT (NAMPA) - Business has been slow at the Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub (RFPBH) since its inception late last year.
The sluggish pace has been attributed to the traditional horticultural farming methods used in the regions.
Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub Manager Inekela Kambidji told Nampa on Tuesday that the traditional farming methods do not involve market-led production, as horticultural products are not produced according to what the market requires.
The market is currently flooded with cabbages, carrots and onions, amongst other things, while there is an acute shortage of potatoes in the market countrywide.
The multi-million-dollar Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub officially opened for business in November last year.
The RFPBH manager said farmers should change their farming methods by planning properly so that they can consistently and continuously supply horticultural products.
Kambidji said to remedy the situation, they have consulted farmers, and asked them to plant every week and produce enough fresh produce to meet existing demands.
In order to satisfy the market continuously, he explained that farmers need to plant about 1 000 hectares of fresh produce for the fresh-produce hubs at both Rundu and Ongwediva, translating to between 45 and 50 hectares of crop varieties per week.
To achieve that, farmers need to be organised and structured when it comes to what to plant.
Currently, everybody is producing the same thing at the same time.
Everybody is planting on the same day and it will be ready at the same time, and we dont have proper storage facilities for some of this produce to be kept for that long, Kambidji stated.
A situation where the market is flooded with an oversupply of certain products forces the producers to sell the produce at a giveaway price, which then results in substantial losses for them.
The hub provides business opportunities for the processing, marketing and value-addition of fresh produce through industrial activities such as sorting, cleaning, grading, packaging, branding, drying, bottling and canning.
It consists 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.
The fresh hub properties are managed by the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), which is responsible for the promotion, marketing, processing and value-addition of Namibias 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.
The construction of the second phase of the hub will consist of a filling station and a truck port, and is currently underway.