22 Feb 2018 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 22 FEB (NAMPA) The Agro-Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA) has marketed fresh produce to the tune of N.dollars 34 million through its three national hubs during the 2016/17 financial year, a 40 per cent increase, its Managing Director Lungameni Lucas said.
Speaking at AMTAs annual general meeting on Thursday, Lucas said the total value of volume traded through the hubs has increased by 40 per cent compared to the previous year.
The throughput from the Rundu hub was 1 545 Metric Tons (MT) (N.dollars 8.9 million), Ongwediva 1 932 MT (N.dollars 20.8 million) while the Windhoek hub was 1 408 MT (N.dollars 4.9 million).
The main products were potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, butternuts, watermelons, gem squash, carrots and green peppers.
The total grain released during the period under review was 9 412.71 MT. Of this, 8 151.71 was white maize while 1 261 was Pearl Millet (Mahangu).
In addition, for the fourth year running, AMTA has received an unqualified audit opinion, something worth commending in the face of parastatals that have become a burden on State coffers, according to Lucas.
For the year under review, AMTA recorded a surplus of N.dollars 26 million, compared to the deficit of N.dollars 62 million last year.
Lucas said 765 samples of agronomic and horticulture products from AMTA were tested and were in compliance with food safety standards of the European Union or Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations.
At the moment, the government has five silos as part of the National Strategic Food Reserve (NSFR).
NSFR was established with the aim of ensuring that local grain producers have a market for their produce in order to support food security and guarantee that food is available at any given time.
The silos are located in Tsandi (Omusati), Okongo (Ohangwena), Omuthiya (Oshikoto), Rundu (Kavango East) and Katima Mulilo (Zambezi).
However, the current storage capacity of the five silos is 22 900 MT, a 68 per cent shortfall of the national target of 67 000 MT which the organisation aims to address by 2030.
Lucas further listed the pricing of grain, limited access to the market, high cost of laboratory analysis and oversupply or undersupply of certain fresh produce as its chief challenges.
As we speak now, there is an undersupply of onions in Namibia. We dont have onions as we speak. We need to look at how we can programme supply so our produce speak to the needs of the market, he said.