18 Nov 2013 19:10pm
RUNDU, 18 NOV (NAMPA) - The demands for horticulture produce exceeds local production by far, and it is estimated that local Namibian producers supply only 30 per cent of the demand while 70 per cent is imported mainly from South Africa.
Kavango East and West Regional Governor Dr. Samuel Mbambo said this during a national fresh produce stakeholders consultative meeting held at Rundu on Monday.
The governor said this situation can be ascribed to the fact that wholesalers, due to inadequate local marketing infrastructures and marketing strategies, position themselves in such a way that it is difficult for local producers to compete.
Local producers find it difficult to comply with the three main factors important in horticulture marketing, namely quantity, quality and continuity, the Kavango Governor said.
Dr. Mbambo stated that Namibian farmers can be regarded as emerging farmers while South African producers are well established and provide the fresh produce market in that country with a complete range of good quality products throughout the year.
He stressed that South Africa has suitable land for crop production and is indeed a food basket for Namibia.
He said the Namibian Government encourages the sourcing of agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables and other crop products from local farmers under the market share promotion policy.
According to him, the National Horticulture Development initiative was established to support and enhance the horticulture production potential of the country through various programmes, which include the development of infrastructure, the implementation of an import permit system as well as the promotion of the local purchasing of horticulture produce by domestic retailers and consumers.
Mbambo noted that the Namibian Government further intends to increase the local production and marketing of fruits and vegetables and other horticultural products with the aim to replace most of the imported products with local production.
The national fresh produce stakeholders consultative meeting was held to enlighten fresh produce farmers, processors, traders, agents, retailers and consumers on fresh produce business hub activities, benefits and business common interests.
The Rundu Fresh Produce Business hub was officially opened for trading on Monday by Agriculture, Water and Forestry Deputy Minister Lempy Lucas.
Horticultural farmers can now start bringing in their producer for marketing and trading while the Ongwediva Fresh Produce hub will be opened later this month on 29 November.