AMTA urges stakeholders to source food locally

11 Nov 2015 15:50pm
RUNDU, 11 NOV (NAMPA) - The Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) held a stakeholder engagement meeting here on Monday on how to implement Cabinet’s directive that food supplies should be sourced locally.
Cabinet sent out this request in 2014, directing all offices, ministries and other Government agencies to include in their food supply tender specifications, a requirement that food supplies should be sourced locally.
Such food supplied should particularly be sourced from all the National Fresh Produce Business Hubs.
The Fresh Produce Hubs at Rundu and Ongwediva are operational, while the hub in Windhoek is still in the process of being constructed in the Wanaheda residential area.
The hubs’ main aim is to promote and enhance market access for local fresh produce farmers by providing cold storage and marketing facilities.
It also serves to enhance farmers’ capacity building and to provide logistical support to the producers in order to maintain quality, reduce post-harvest losses and to ensure a reliable and consistent supply.
The fresh produce hub properties are managed by AMTA, which is responsible for the promotion, marketing, processing and value-addition of Namibia’s agricultural produce, as well as the management and maintenance of infrastructure such as grain storage silos around the country.
Cabinet directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) through AMTA to practically implement its decision and provide regular feedback with regard to the practical implementation thereof.
Speaking to Nampa on the sideline of the stakeholder engagement meeting, Senior Manager of Operations at the Rundu Fresh Produce Hub, Alfeus Siyamba said the directive was passed in order to strengthen local procurement.
“The whole value chain needs to be correctly addressed in terms of how much of the country’s food is locally produced and how much of that local produce is really taken up,” Siyamba explained.
He stated that dependency on imports is high despite Namibia having local producers who produce fair to good quality products that can be taken up by markets in the country.
On his part, the Managing Director of AMTA Lucas Lungameni informed stakeholders that Government is not restricting them through this directive.
He said they (stakeholders) can still negotiate their prices with farmers outside of the hub, but should just make such a contract or relationship known to AMTA.
This is important, Lungameni said, as AMTA was established to coordinate and manage the marketing and trading of agricultural produce in the country.