Govt entities snub AMTA

AMTA's 2018/2019 annual report says government institutions needed about 4 000 tonnes of produce a year but they sourced only 200 tonnes from the agency.

15 January 2021 | Agriculture

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU



Despite a 2014 cabinet directive for government offices, ministries and agencies to prioritise the Agro-Marketing and Trading Agency (AMTA) when procuring food produce, little is being done to implement it.

AMTA, in its 2018/2019 annual report, said government offices, ministries and agencies procured only 5% of the total produce they needed from AMTA.

This was said at a meeting in Rundu on Tuesday between AMTA managing director Lungameni Lucas and stakeholders from the two Kavango regions.

AMTA's mandate is to manage the Fresh Produce Business Hubs and National Strategic Food Reserve infrastructure.

AMTA says these institutions need about 4 000 tonnes of produce but they sourced only 200 tonnes from the agency, something Lucas said needs to be addressed.

So far only the defence force, prisons, police and the education ministry are procuring their produce from AMTA.

Lucas said some ministries' tenders have not been awarded yet.

He stressed that the cabinet directive is clear and those who cater or supply government institutions with fresh produce should source it locally.

“It is a process to see to it that the directive is really implemented fully, however the institutions did not yet complete the awarding of tenders. There are those caterers who have a good relationship with us and they are not a problem,” Lucas said.

Lucas said during the 2018/2019 financial year Namibia imported fresh produce worth over N$400 million while the produce grown and marketed locally was worth just over N$200 million.



Farmers' concerns

The farmers attending the meeting questioned AMTA's pricing model.

Lucas said producer prices are determined by the Namibia Agronomic Board and not by AMTA.

Farmers have been reluctant to sell their produce to AMTA because they are unhappy with the prices paid.

They argue that their input costs are high and they cannot sell at a loss. Lungameni assured the farmers that AMTA was aware of their concerns and was trying to address the issue.

At yesterday's meeting AMTA also introduced the new contracts that will be entered into with suppliers.

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