AMTA kicks off mahangu buying

While some farmers claim not to have been informed, almost 300 have already sold N$2.5 million of mahangu to AMTA, providing much-needed relief.

04 March 2019 | Agriculture

As of 26 February this year, the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) has purchased 508 tons of surplus mahangu grain to the value of about N$2.5 million from farmers who were left in the doldrums after being told that government was not buying the surplus stock.

This is the first round of the 1 527 tons, valued at N$13.1 million, that have been registered and so far, this has benefited 283 farmers.

AMTA, through its National Strategic Food Reserve (NSFR), is mandated to procure grains from local producers from the Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Ohangwena and Otjozondjupa regions.

AMTA's corporate communications officer Meke Namindo told Namibian Sun that although farmers were informed and notified as to when to register their mahangu and when to bring it to market, there are still some farmers who are claiming they were not informed.

She added that some farmers are also unable to properly quantify the quantity to be sold and others are bringing old mahangu.

At the end of January this year, AMTA informed farmers with mahangu to register to sell their stock. As of 30 January 1 527 farmers had registered 2 439 tons worth N$13.1 million.

“Some farmers are still coming claiming they did not hear the announcement. Although registered farmers are given dates as to when they should bring their mahangu to be marketed, smaller farmers do not turn up on the specific day allocated to them and this has affected the purchasing programme in such a way that on some days, one will have more farmers than expected while on others, we receive a few farmers,” Namindo said.

Namindo said another challenge was that some farmers also registered more than once at different registration points.

Although the exercise is being conducted beyond the normal grain marketing season, the quality of grain is still acceptable ranging from grades 1 and 2. Most farmers have really taken good care of their grain and this is highly appreciated, she said.

“AMTA does not buy old mahangu, but there are some farmers who brought the 2017 harvest to market, while others brought grain heavily infested or with lots of foreign objects,” she said

ILENI NANDJATO

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