Green scheme products need protection

23 January 2014 Author   Francis Xoagub

front Green  24 janLACK of regulation to protect local fresh produce from competition against cheap imports and a small absorption capacity hampers Namibia’s fledging green scheme, Managing Director of the newly established AGRIBUSDEV Petrus Uugwanga said. Uugwanga said that a regulation against competition from cheap mass produced fruit and vegetables from South Africa would help ensure that locally produced crops have a market, thereby bolstering domestic consumption.

 

In addition, a need existed to set up proper production planning systems and value chain addition as well as improve marketing of locally produced fresh products.

His comments follow a Nampa report that indicated that tonnes and tonnes of vegetable produced at the Uvhungu-Vhungu Green Scheme project had gone to waste because of lack of storage facilities and a limited market.

“The main barriers to building a mature market come from the absence of regulation, rather than from the operation of the market or storage facilities,” he said.

He made the remarks when approached for comment about the Uvhungu-Vhungu Green Scheme project fiasco where produce harvested have spoiled due to a lack of storage facilities.

Uugwanga blamed what appeared to be over-production or lack of planning on what he described as the small absorption capacity for local produce because agricultural products from countries like South Africa flood the Namibian market.

He proposed a regulation to stop foreign fresh produce flooding the market because that would compel businesses to buy from local producers rather than import from other countries.

“In the absence of regulation, produce flows through all border crossings in massive quantities, and this will reflect very badly on our ability to market our own produce.

“Foreign producers have dumped these products on our market in an unprecedented way.”

“We need a regulation that will address this situation. It is not to say that we don’t have cold storage facilities,” he added.

The local market moved too slowly to absorb the produce and as a result, the products ended up spoiled.

The Uvhungu-Vhungu experience showed that even the fresh produce business hubs that became operational at Ongwediva and Rundu in September last year do not have the capacity to absorb the small quantities of goods produced locally.

Manager of the project Magret Matengu said that the Uvhungu-Vhungu Green Scheme had also struggled to find markets for its produce.

She attributed the problem to the fact the market for butternuts and pumpkins had become flooded because other Green Scheme projects like Sikondo and Ndonga Linena projects also produced the same products. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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