The Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency will have spent N$158.8m by the end of this year, for their strategic plan activities which have this secured a storage system for local farmers to store fresh produce.
The funds are split over five major goals, of which AMTA is supposed to establish partnerships from an allocated N$ 3 817 000 which is aimed at ensuring that stakeholders are actively involved in the agency’s interventions.
This include ensuring that volume traded is at 200MT minimum per month per agent at each hub for 2015.
The second goal set is to build a reputable brand and agency, which was meant for ensuring that AMTA comply with Total Quality Management. Marketing and brand communications also fall under this goal and a total of N$ 1480 000.00.
N$ 465 000.00 was used for stimulating demand for local fresh produce, this include value addition to support the government through facilities management and infrastructure design as required.
The agency used N$ 117 000 000.00 on management of food reserves to support food security. This includes increasing cereal and pulse reserves to 6700MT in line with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry infrastructure development plans set for 2018.
AMTA spend N$ 35 933 834.00 on land and facilities management, corporate governance as well as continually recruiting and retaining of staff.
AMTA Chairperson, Anna Shiweda, says Namibia is known for a resilient and turbulent economic and weather/climate hence it is important that the Agency capitalise on the successful foundations laid since the inception of the organisation and ensure that it is as efficient and meets the country’ needs.
“We will continue to improve the process for marketing and trading of Namibian fresh produce and food security through the co-operation and dedication of the AMTA board, employees and the strong relationship the organisation has built with government and industry players” Said Anna Shiweda.
The strategic plan for 2014-2019 indicated that the support and guidance form the Agency board was outstanding and its one of the critical factors which led to the success of AMTA.
The agency have a clear legal framework which outlines the role and responsibilities of stakeholders and all agencies involved in agro-marketing and trade, and food security. The report indicates that there is efficiency in the way AMTA conducts itself and how its employees work.
Lungameni Lucas, the AMTA Managing Director mentioned that the agency vision will be realised as we fulfil our mission and to do this we must also be successful in delivering our strategic objectives as set.
“We will focus on key performance and risk areas as well as the associated performance and risk indicators and measures” says Lungameni.
The strategic plan confirmed that AMTA’s success is dependent on its agents being able to source to source fresh produce of the appropriate quality, quantity and diversity to trade on the Fresh Produce Business Hab (FPBH).
AMTA alongside AGRIBUSDEV were established by the government through relevant and well considered Cabinet decisions as Agencies with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and they are registered in accordance with the country’s company laws.
Namibian Retailers’ intake increased to 41 percent Retailers in Namibia have now increased their intake of fresh produce from the local market to 41% from 5% since the inception of Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) 15 years ago.
AMTA corporate branding and promotion officer, Meke Uushona said “This agency has added value to Namibian fresh produces by bringing closer the storage facilities to our farmers who are willing to be taking part in contributing to secure food security in our country.”
AMTA’s biggest achievement, according to Uushona, was the establishment of a preservation system which local farmers now have access to a countrywide storage system where they can store their fresh produce.
Uushona added that they have trained more than 500 fresh produce farmers countrywide who are and will be producing fresh produce of the quality at international level. “Local retailers are now able to rely and buy fresh produces from hubs,” she said.
She said that Namibian fresh produce is recommended in terms of quality assurance compared similar fresh produce imported from South Africa. To ensure quality of fresh produce, AMTA has officials in all regions that are responsible for inspecting locally produced fresh produce.
“We will continue importing some of the fresh produce from other countries because due to climate challenges our farmers are only able to produce some fresh produce,” she said. She also noted that SADC is facing a challenge of food safety storage and Namibia is one of the countries that are trying to overcome the challenge.
“Our fresh produce farmers are no more forced to sell their produces immediately after harvesting, but they can take them hubs or storage facilities,” says Uushona.
According to Uushona, stakeholder engagement is needed to enable AMTA to fully achieve its objectives. She also added that if Namibia was not dependent on other countries for fresh produces, it will create a health trading market, where the imported fresh produce will not take over the Namibian market.
AMTA came up with a Production Calendar that enables constant flow of fresh produce in the Market. She explained that with the Production Calendar, they will be able to know what is in the market and what is lacking.
“Grapes are not yet exported through AMTA but it is one of the things we are considering to work on in future,” she added.
She further added that more hubs are yet to come with one currently under construction in Windhoek. Uushona also noted that AMTA has recently allocated officials at boarder points for import and export licenses. Satellite offices will be set in all regions for easy access of AMTA services. AMTA was created following a Cabinet Decision and is established under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to coordinate and manage the marketing and trading of Agricultural Produce in Namibia. AMTA’s mandate is to manage the Fresh Produce Business Hubs and National Strategic Food Reserves infrastructure towards the attainment of food safety and security. AMTA has, so far, Fresh Produce Business Hubs in 3 regions, and Grain storage facilities in 5 regions. The National Strategic Food Reserve is currently operating in Katima Mulilo, Okongo, Rundu, Omuthiya and Tsandi; with a capacity of 18900 MT that is estimated to be expanded to 68000 MT.
by Jona Musheko and Maxmus Halwoodi : The Villager