No direct market for Naute irrigation scheme dates

29 Sep 2018 17:40pm
NAUTE DAM, 29 SEP (NAMPA) – Naute irrigation scheme project manager, Izak van Zyl has revealed that they do not have a direct domestic or international market they sell their dates to.
During a briefing with Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Alpheus !Naruseb on Thursday, Van Zyl explained that they thus use an intermediary to market and sell the dates produced here.
“We don’t have a market currently for the dates ourself, so we use a middleman or an agency, called Carsten Farms in South Africa and they do the marketing and selling,” he said.
He noted that the dates are sold throughout the world in this way, but bemoaned that they do not have a local market for the dates.
“Here in Namibia, we don’t have a market; we do not have any individual or company that can say ‘we want to buy a tonne of dates’. We also sell the produce in an open market in South Africa where anyone can buy, but here back home, we cannot even sell on the street as there is no market,” he said.
The project was established in 1991 by the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) and is located at Naute Dam, 50 kilometers outside Keetmanshoop.
Dates are farmed on 120 hectares but only 20 hectares are producing food of around 200 tonnes at the moment.
Van Zyl said one of the biggest challenges the project is faced with is dust from the gravel road, describing they have to spend millions of dollars to buy different products in order to protect the dates and grapes from infestation.
“The dust comes with diseases, dates and the grapes we plant here are very sensitive to the dust and this year alone we lost 70 tonnes of dates, which amounts to N.dollars 350 000 in losses,” he noted.