Green schemes badly managed

22 June 2021 | Agriculture

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

A submission made to Cabinet indicates that Agribusdev did not properly manage the green schemes and that they were underperforming.

Government is now considering operating its green schemes under a public-private partnership, Namibian Sun recently reported.

“All indications were that the business model under which Agribusdev was managing the green schemes was the main cause for the underperformance. Farming decisions and operational matters were decided from head office with great delays; financial decisions from head office deprived green schemes from getting required inputs in time, if at all,” a memo to Cabinet said.

The ministry of public enterprises further commissioned studies – one conducted by Deloitte, another by the National Planning Commission and the third by the Bank of Namibia - into the viability of Agribusdev’s business, which all found fault with the parastatal’s management inefficiencies.

No surprise

The submission also pointed out a multitude of problems Aribusdev and the management of the green schemes faced.

It found poor management of the operations, assets and finances of the green schemes. Meanwhile, financial constraints affected farm operations resulting in power cuts and late planting which subsequently led to low yields, while the green schemes had old machinery and implements, faced high electricity bills, a lack of technical skills to do proper maintenance of farming implements and a lack of storage facilities.

Furthermore, the high lease fees of N$11 000 charged to small-scale farmers by Agribusdev and the Agro Marketing and Trade Agency failing to assist with marketing and selling local produce were also mentioned in the submission.

A former board member, who chose to remain anonymous, said Agribusdev’s closure comes as no surprise.

“There was no government support and the business could not [reach] a position to support itself. The company was not strong enough to support itself,” they said.

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