NAB aims for 60% local horticulture production

30 November 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) aims to reach 60% of local horticulture production by 2025.

The Namibian annual horticultural demand also increased from 65 113 tonnes to the value of more than N$438.2 million recorded in 2018/2019 to 110 999 tonnes to the value of N$ 957.3 million during the 2020/2021 financial year.

It currently stands at 48% with 52% of vegetable and fruit products being imported from other countries.

According to the NAB, the Market Share Promotion (MSP) Scheme came into effect on 1 October 2004 and is a Growth at Home strategy that aims at stimulating horticultural production in Namibia and the local sales of locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables. This is done by encouraging importers such as wholesalers, catering companies and resources to source locally.

“The scheme requires importers of fresh fruit and vegetables to procure Namibian horticultural products equivalent to at least the minimum percentage factor in monetary value per quarter, as determined and approved by the NAB Board, on recommendation from the National Horticulture Advisory Committee (NHAC).”

Imports

The MSP started at 5% in 2005 and currently stands at 48% and it serves as a prerequisite to obtaining an import permit, which means that only traders/importers who have achieved their minimum MSP are allowed to import horticultural products unrestricted.

According to NAB, this means that local production contributes 48% to the horticulture domestic demand and the remaining 52% is imported mainly from South Africa, and this is from a formal trade perspective, excluding informal markets.

“Traders and importers that fail to comply with this requirement are restricted to only importing horticulture products equivalent to a predetermined monetary value.”

It said that in addition has led to the protection of Namibian producers from cheap horticultural fresh produce imported from other countries.

“In essence, the NAB targets to reach 60% MSP by 2025, to ensure that the country produces more of what we eat whilst importing less as a way to enhance food self-sufficiency and create employment opportunities in Namibia.”

In order to boost the MSP at a faster pace, the NAB introduced the Horticulture Special Control Products (SCP) Scheme in 2012. The scheme allows for the implementation of import restrictions on selected horticultural products during times of sufficient local production, which encourages fresh produce traders to source locally produced horticultural products.

The scheme started with only two products in 2012 and currently, there are 16 products under this scheme namely, potatoes, onions, cabbages, butternuts, tomatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, English cucumbers, sweet potatoes, beetroot, gem squash, watermelons, sweet melons, pumpkins, sweetcorn and lettuce.

The NAB added that for the MSP to continue reaping rewards for the horticultural industry, producers are encouraged to take advantage of horticultural crops with shortages in the market such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet pepper, gem squash, amongst others, through a market-led production approach, to ensure that every product that is produced on the farm has a market before it is planted.

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