Namibia has huge potential to export more horticulture products rather than grapes and fruits, Namibia Agronomic Board Horticulture Manager, Lesley Losper said this week.
“The opportunities are there, they just need to be explored,” he told a strategic planning consultation meeting held in Windhoek this week.
The strategic plan is expected to run from 2019 to 2024.
The country produced about 25 599 tons of horticulture produce in the 2017/2018 financial year and imported 52 853 tons during the same period.
The country exported horticulture produce-grapes and dates –amounting to 55 358 tons during the 2017/2018 finance year.
Agriculture permanent secretary, Percy Misika told the workshop that Namibia imported 96 percent of its fruits demand during the 2017/2018 financial year.
“The strategic plan is aimed to be a dynamic blueprint that we need to enhance the performance of the NAB to drive the growth of the agronomic and horticulture industry for the next five years in our country. The future is uncertain if no direction is outlined for any given organisation and the absence should be a matter of great concern to the board of directors as well as its stakeholders,” Misika said.
In terms of agronomic crops, Misika said during the 2017/18 local white maize production amounted to 76 660 tons, while imports were 50 483, meaning that 60 percent of the country’s total consumption was locally produced in 2017/2018 financial year. In terms of pearl millet, 2344 tons were produced locally and 5813 tons were imported, meaning that 40 percent of total consumption was locally produced.
Namibia only produced four percent of its wheat consumption in the 2017/18 financial year, which amounted to 6863 tons compared to 104 244 tons in imports.
“We should not plan to fail, but plan to implement targeted interventions that make us realise our potential as a country. Therefore, change is always easier to manage,” Misika said.
He said Namibia as a country must aspire to see agronomy and horticulture development driven by both scientific and market research.
“Therefore, we are planning to see how we can improve the situation we are finding ourselves as a net importer, so that we can be self-sufficient. This will be achieved by engaging in production, processing, storage and marketing in a sustainable manner to ensure food security.”