14 Nov 2013 14:10pm
RUNDU, 14 NOV (NAMPA) - The multi-million dollar Fresh Produce Business Hub at Rundu will be open for trading as from next Monday.
Both the Rundu and Ongwediva fresh produce business hubs started operating in September this year, after the recruitment of staff was finalised, but were not yet open for trading.
Lucas Lungameni was recently appointed as the General Manager for the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), which will be responsible for managing these two centres, while Inekela Kambidji was appointed as the manager for the Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub, and has already started working.
Lungameni confirmed to Nampa on Thursday that trading will commence, and horticulture producers will start bringing their produce to the hubs as from Monday.
On the same day, a national fresh produce stakeholders' meeting will be held at the fresh produce hub, whereafter the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa will launch the fresh produce marketing and trade policy.
Lungameni said the AMTA has appointed six agents consisting of wholesalers and commission agents who will be responsible for the selling and buying of the fresh produce.
Producers and AMTA staff have already been trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
Both Rundu and Ongwediva fresh produce business hub centres were officially inaugurated by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in March this year, putting to rest speculation that the buildings will become 'white elephants'.
The Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub, which is strategically situated along the Trans-Caprivi Highway, will provide necessary space for bulk cold storage, processing, marketing and value-addition to fresh produce in the region, and elsewhere in the country.
Lungameni in an earlier interview with Nampa called on horticultural producers to start mass production as without such production, the hub will not be viable.
About 60 selected horticultural farmers have been trained by the Agriculture Ministry on horticultural production, specifically on GAP, and have been certified as horticultural producers.
Such farmers are expected to train others in their respective villages.
The centre will provide business opportunities for processing, marketing and value-addition to fresh produce through industrial activities such as sorting, cleaning, grading, packaging, branding, drying, bottling and canning of fresh produce and marketing services.
The Fresh Produce Business Hubs consist of bulk cold storage and marketing facilities, serviced land for agro-processing activities, research and product development facilities, retail centres, open market facilities for vendors as well as a fuel station and truck port, amongst other things.
The fresh hub properties will be managed by AMTA, which will be responsible for the promotion, marketing, processing and value-addition of Namibias agricultural produce, as well as the management and maintenance of infrastructure.
The Rundu Fresh Produce Business Hub was constructed by China Jiangshi International Cooperation, a Chinese-owned company, at a cost of N.dollars 110 million.