Public institutions should source produce from within their regions: Thikusho

26 Jul 2019 07:50am
RUNDU, 25 JUL (NAMPA) – The acting regional manager of the Rundu Fresh Produce hub, Gervasius Thikusho, is calling on the government to issue a directive compelling public institutions in regions to source produce from farmers within their regions.
“We want a situation where the institutions that are within the region source local. This is the only way we can empower farmers in order to eradicate poverty,” he told Nampa in an interview Thursday.
Thikusho said he does not have a problem with the procurement directive the Ministry of Finance issued in May, where the government asked public entities to source specific categories of goods and services and works produced and manufactured locally before procuring these elsewhere.
Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein announced that the directive was a measure to enable local participation in the economy and enhance domestic productive capacity within the framework of the Procurement Act (Act No. 15 of 2015).
The directive extends procurement reservation to 100 per cent Namibian-owned SMEs and entities which are 51 per cent or more equity-owned by Namibian citizens.
Thikusho said it would be ideal if the government could also introduce a law where public institutions in a specific region source within that region.
“Because now, let’s say we have meat or eggs. Instead of it coming from within the region it is also coming from other regions which are taking a portion of our market,” he outlined as an example.
He suggested that the government could just create an entity that regulates and monitors whether public entities are sourcing local and to what extent.
“This entity can look at how much the local produce has been exhausted and then further advise for other regions to supply when there is a need,” he added.
Thikusho said the market situation is very difficult now, explaining that even when farmers produce or slaughter cattle they have nowhere to take their products.
According to him, the State-owned Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) “really wants to assist small-scale farmers but there are no markets”.
“Government is actually the biggest market right now,” he emphasised.