AMTA comes to Nepunda's rescue
22 January 2019 | Agriculture
This follows a recent Namibian Sun article that highlighted the plight of the mahangu producer, who has won Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) awards.
He told Namibian Sun earlier this month that he still had 1 800 bags left from last year's harvest and that the government was no longer buying mahangu or maize. Nepunda (84) confirmed yesterday that AMTA had bought 100 bags from him. “AMTA has bought 100 bags of my mahangu and I am happy.
After learning that AMTA was not buying mahangu, I lost hope and I was at the point of not cultivating mahangu this year, because it will end up getting wasted as there are no buyers,” Nepunda said.
“It is not yet too late, I am still going to cultivate, but not mahangu this time.
After you published that story I received visits from private maize buyers, who promised to teach me how to produce maize and they will be buying it.”
Nepunda, who started producing mahangu in 1990, farms on about 30 hectares at Okongo. AMTA did not receive any money from the agriculture ministry to buy mahangu from northern farmers last year.
It is not clear where the money came from to purchase Nepunda's mahangu, as AMTA managing director Lucas Lungameni and its manager for national strategic food reserves, Wilhelmina Handunge, were reportedly in a meeting yesterday.
AMTA is mandated to procure mahangu and maize on behalf of the agriculture ministry but last year the ministry did not allocate any money for this purpose. Farmers supplying mahangu to AMTA used to be paid N$5 400 per tonne, or N$5.40 per kilogramme.
The agriculture ministry has not responded to several enquiries since last year.
The ministry has silos for mahangu and maize managed by AMTA at Tsandi, Okongo, Omuthiya, Rundu and Katima Mulilo. AMTA bought 240 tonnes of mahangu in 2011, 742 tonnes in 2011, 504 tonnes in 2012, 175 tonnes in 2013, 486 tonnes in 2014, 61 tonnes in 2015 and 1 500 tonnes in 2017.