Asparagus project for Omusati region

05 Oct 2017 08:20am
WINDHOEK, 05 OCT (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and a Spanish company, Industrias Alimentarias de Navarra (IAN) on Wednesday signed a partnership agreement for 10-year Asparagus Agro-Processing Project.
The 10-year agreement allows for the Spanish company to grow 60 hectares of white asparagus within the Etunda Green Scheme Irrigation Project in the Omahenene area of the Omusati Region.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, line Minister John Mutorwa said the project is a result of collaborative efforts that started in 2015, when the company ran some trials on asparagus production at the ministry’s Omahenene Research Station.
“The result obtained from the trials were positive, hence the collective decision to take the project to another high level,” said Mutorwa.
Mutorwa emphasised that the project will trigger some capital investment of approximately N.dollars 8.8 million required for adapting the existing irrigation system at the government Etunda Green Scheme Irrigation Project and N.dollars 25 million for building a processing factory to be situated in Ruacana in the Kunene Region.
He noted that during the first phase of production, at least 175 employment opportunities will be created, of which 25 will be permanent while 150 people will be temporary.
Phase two of the project will see 120 people employed.
“Given that the substantial part of the harvest will be exported, the project is geared to generate the much-needed foreign currency for the country,” Mutorwa said.
Speaking at the same event, representative of IAN, Carlos Lertxundi said the project will be a first in Africa but among others in South America, Europe and Asia.
Lertxundi emphasised that, the 60 hectares will produce 460 tons of asparagus which will be exported and some will be sold locally depending on the availability of interested distributors.
“We are busy since last year July with the soil preparation and currently installing the drip irrigation system which is the most efficient way to utilise water and to grow asparagus under the region’s climatic condition,” said Lertxundi.
He added that the factory will be fully operational by December 2018 if everything runs as planned.
The signing of the partnership follows a courtesy call made by Spain’s Ambassador to Namibia, Concepción Figuerola, on President Hage Geingob in March this year to discuss projects that several Spanish companies are planning to establish in Namibia, one of them being the asparagus project.