Kavango East farmers foresee challenges from capitalizing

29 Jan 2019 14:30pm
RUNDU, 29 JAN (NAMPA) –The Kavango East Regional Farmers Union (KERFU) foresee challenges that will prevent some mahangu producing farmers benefiting from Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency’s (AMTA) decision to buy local produced mahangu.

This was said by KERFU’s Chairperson, Adolf Muremi in an interview with Nampa on Monday regarding AMTA’s decision to halt the importation of mahangu grain and buy locally produced mahangu.

AMTA through the National Strategic Food Reserves (NSFR) announced last week that it will be buying mahangu surplus from the last harvesting season.

Muremi said the decision to halt the importation of mahangu into the country and to buy from local farmers is a good decision as it will give farmers the opportunity to sell their mahangu.

“It is good news for the farmers because farmers still have grain that AMTA can buy because farmers have been complaining about AMTA’s inability to buy locally produced mahangu,” said Muremi.

Although it is a good decision, he stressed that he foresee some challenges facing some of the farmers, especially those located in far distances as they will find it difficult to transport their mahangu to the nearest silo.

Muremi suggested that AMTA should at least establish temporary depos where farmers can be able to reach in order to sell their grain. Besides that,he encouraged the farmers who can be able to transport their grain to the silos to take advantage of the presented opportunity.

“It is a good thing and I am therefore calling all the farmers in the region to take advantage of this opportunity as it will make them some profits which in turn can be used to finance their farming activities during the ongoing cultivating season, “said the chairperson.

AMTA also announced that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has provided the needed funds that will be used to buy all locally available mahangu grain that have not been bought by millers after the last harvest. However, it requested producers to ensure that their mahangu is clean and free from live insects.

MAWF have also halted the issuing of permits for mahangu imports until all local surplus mahangu had been sold, urging millers to buy locally produced mahangu.

AMTA’s official responsible for Kavango East and West Region, Thomas Konstantin when approached for comment said at this moment in time temporary depos cannot be feasible because of the rain since there are no storage facilities inland.

“We need the facility to protect the mahangu, therefore we cannot make up temporary depos since there are no such facilities,” said Konstantin.

However, Konstatin said farmers can go to places like Omega, Shadikongoro and Shitemo Green Scheme where there are storage facilities to keep the grain before they can be transported to the main mahangu storage in Okongo in the Ohangwena region since silos in Kavango East are mainly used to store maize because the area is a maize dominated area.