Potato shortage at Rundu fresh produce hub

21 Oct 2014 09:50am
RUNDU, 21 OCT (NAMPA) - The Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub currently faces a shortage of potatoes.
The hub’s manager, Inekela Kambidji told Nampa on Thursday the shortage of potatoes is mainly due to the traditional farming methods employed. The methods do not involve market-led production, and horticultural products are not produced according to what the market requires.
He said the same problem is being experienced at the Ongwediva Fresh Produce Business Hub.
The market is currently flooded with cabbages, carrots and onions, amongst other things.
Namibia gets most of its potatoes from South Africa.
Kambidji said potatoes are expected to be in the market around November and December but expressed concern that once it is available, it will be so much that the market will not be able to absorb it.
This will force potato producers to get rid of them at a cheaper price.
He further said most potatoes produced in Namibia are unwashed because producers do not have special facilities to wash the starchy vegetable.
Most potatoes produced in the country are unwashed and the sand on the potatoes is only brushed off.
Kambidji thus encouraged potato producers to add value to their products, and to do so they need to acquire facilities such as the ‘potato wash bay’, a machine which washes potatoes to a standard level.
According to him, the wash bay which currently costs around N.dollars 500 000 will give clients a choice and add value to farmers’ potatoes.
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 Namibia’s agricultural produce.