18 Sep 2013 12:20
ONGWEDIVA, 18 SEP (NAMPA) Staff members of the Agro-Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA) from Ongwediva, Rundu and Windhoek are undergoing theoretical and practical training on how to operate implements of the Fresh Produce Business Hubs (FPBH).
The five-day training commenced here on Monday.
It is conducted by the Samuel Jafet Victor (SJV) Technical Company contracted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to oversee the establishment and operationalisation of the FPBH.
Trainees comprises of five each from Ongwediva and Rundu, and seven from Windhoek.
AMTA is a new concept in Namibia and, as such, its staff members are to be trained.
AMTA General Manager, Lungameni Lucas told journalists on the sidelines of the training that staff members are to be properly trained, not only on how to operate the hubs implements, but also in such a way that consumers are assured of food safety and quality standard of all produce to be available at the hubs.
Lucas said AMTA will train all its employees starting from cleaners, security guards up to the top officials to ensure that the provision of fresh produce of good quality and high standard to the consumers is not compromised.
He explained that standard officers will be recruited to constantly monitor and guide the local producers/farmers on what seeds to plant to enable them to produce as per the market demand.
Lucas indicated that standard officers will monitor the producers farming practices from planting throughout the harvest in order to be assured that the FPBH receive only fresh produce of good and quality standard for its consumers.
The assurance of food hygiene, safety and standard is what we are aiming at, Lucas charged, adding that the FPBH at Ongwediva and Rundu started operations with the running of trade halls equipment and all facilities to ensure that all are in place when actual fresh produce trading commence in mid-November this year.
Although Lucas described the establishment of the FPBH as a worthy investment for the country, he at the same time expressed concern that the hubs are not sufficient for the national volume of fresh produce.
We are subjected to the expansion of the hubs to be able to accommodate all our producers of fresh produce in the future, the AMTA General Manager pointed out.
The Windhoek hub is still under construction and, as a central fresh produce marketing facility, it will be of a bigger size than the Ongwediva and Rundu hubs.
The FPBH will provide cold storage facilities, grading, sorting, packaging infrastructure, marketing and trading of fresh produce, and are anticipated to stimulate and support local agricultural production.
Jacob Hamutenya is the regional manager of the Ongwediva Fresh Produce Business Hub (OFPBH).