Maize imports halted

06 June 2017 | Agriculture

Namib Mills says maize imports for its Otavi mills stopped on 1 June this year in compliance with the market agreement.

According to the spokesperson of Namib Mills, Ashante Mannetti, the Namibian borders are closed for imports of maize on 1 May each year, provided there is sufficient local maize.

Mannetti said the local harvest is, however, late this year and import permits are still being issued on a monitored basis to millers.

This is to ensure that they have maize available for milling for them to be able to supply the market with maize meal.

According to her, during May, only 2 135 tonnes of local maize had been delivered to the silos in Otavi while the average tonnage milled per month is 3 040.

“This arrangement is therefore crucial for food security,” said Mannetti.

She was responding to questions from Namibian Sun regarding a complaint from a local producer who had said producers were unable to deliver maize to the mills at Otavi because of storage limitations due to an anticipated increase of maize from the north this year.

The producer claimed that maize is still being imported from South Africa while local maize harvests have to be moved to Windhoek.

Mannetti said that this complaint was based on incorrect information and it was addressed by the Agronomic Producers' Association to the complainant's satisfaction.

“Namib Mills has never refused producers access to the company's silos, provided that the conditions of the marketing agreement are adhered to.” According to her, storage capacity in Otavi is 17 640 tonnes. Namib Mills' allocation of maize harvested from the northern areas is about 27 500 tonnes.

“The discrepancy in storage space will be absorbed by milling activities in Otavi and Windhoek during the intake of the harvest which will last until the end of August.”

She also said temporary storage space is also available by means of silo bags (capacity of 170 tonnes each) in years of bumper harvests.

This concept was implemented in 2011/12 and it will be used again this year.

Mannetti further explained that because the allocated intake of maize in Otavi exceeds the tonnage used by the mills, part of the intake calculated at 60% has to be relocated to Windhoek for milling.

In accordance with the marketing agreement between the maize producers and the millers, the producer price is fixed as a mill door price.

Producers therefore have to pay the transport charges for this relocation from Otavi to Windhoek.

According to the latest crop survey done in March, the expected maize delivery from Namibian is about 69 144 tonnes while the estimated consumption for the country is about 150 000 tonnes.



ELLANIE SMIT