Local mahangu wanted

31 January 2019 | Agriculture

The Kavango East Regional Farmers Union (KERFU) foresees challenges that will prevent some mahangu-producing farmers benefiting from Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency's (AMTA) decision to buy local mahangu.

This was the view of KERFU's chairperson Adolf Muremi in an interview with Nampa regarding AMTA's decision to halt the importation of mahangu grain and to buy locally produced mahangu.

AMTA, through the National Strategic Food Reserves, 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 they have been complaining about AMTA's inability to buy locally produced mahangu,” said Muremi.

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

Muremi suggested that AMTA should at least establish temporary depots for farmers to sell their grain.

He further encouraged farmers who are able to transport their grain to the silos to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It is a good thing and I am calling on all the farmers in the region to take advantage of this opportunity. These profits can finance their farming activities during the ongoing cultivation season.”

AMTA also announced that the agriculture ministry has provided the needed funds that will be used to buy all locally available mahangu grain that has not been bought by millers. However, it requested producers to ensure that their mahangu is clean and free from live insects.

The ministry has also halted the issuing of permits for mahangu imports until all local surplus mahangu was sold, urging millers to buy locally produced mahangu.

AMTA's official responsible for Kavango East and West regions, Thomas Konstantin, said temporary depots are not feasible because of the rainy season. There are no storage facilities.

“We need facilities to protect the mahangu.”

However, he said farmers can go to places like Omega, Shadikongoro and Shitemo Green Scheme where there are storage facilities.