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The Border Closed For 11 Fresh Produce Except For Washed Potatoes

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
Expected production figures for the month of June 2023 show that local producers will
be able to meet the local demand for 11 special controlled horticultural products.
However, the country will still be importing nine of the products, with five to be
imported on a pro-rata basis.
This is according to the Close and Open Border Notice For the month of June 2023
compiled by the Namibia Agronomic Board.
The Board monitors the importation of 20 special controlled horticultural fresh
products as guided by the expected local production for a specific month.
For the month of June 2023, the local farmers have indicated to the Board that their
yield for the month on the 11 products will be sufficient for the Namibian consumers.
Thus, the border will be completely closed for the importation of butternuts, cabbage,
pepper (green and coloured), gem squash, onions, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, plum
tomato and round tomato.
Beyond the closed border for the 11 horticulture products, the local farmers have also
indicated that their field yield will not be able to satisfy the market fully for four
products, but they can supply partially.
These are beetroot, jam tomato, sweetcorn and lettuce (iceberg).
For the traders that sell beetroot, they are only allowed 20% importation of all types,
size groups, and container sizes fresh, chilled, whole or cut beetroot.
However, the border will open from 1 -15 June 2023.
For the jam tomato for June, the local traders are only allowed 10% importation of all
types, size groups, and container sizes of fresh, chilled, whole, or cut tomato jam.
As for the sweetcorn traders, the country farmers' production data shows that they will
be able to supply 60%, thus importation is only allowed for the remaining shortage.
Those trading in lettuce (iceberg) are notified that they can only import 30% without
restriction but the 47% market share promotion (MSP) applies.
From the 20 special controls, the border will be wide open for import as the data from
the farmers could not convince the Board to impose any import restriction beyond the
47% MSP.
The five products are washed potatoes, carrots, watermelon, sweet melon, and spinach.

Washed potatoes have been leading import. For the past five months of 2023, the
border has never closed for importation according to NAB data.
This highlights low domestic production.
Potatoes are the third most consumed crop in the world, after wheat and rice, and fourth
in Africa, with maize being the third, according to the NAB.
Although potato is the highest in terms of horticultural produce demand, Namibia still
imports over 30% of to fulfil local consumption of fresh potatoes, in addition to those
imported as frozen potatoes and seed potatoes.
Horticulture entrepreneur Magano Rainhold said she has no problem with the closing of
the borders for some products, as they would be available in the country. However the
concern is that the products are very expensive locally, she said.
Rainhold said they need to support locals, however farmers need to reduce their prices.
Zambezi local farmers representative, Dobson Kwala said the closing of the borders for
the importation of horticulture products means local producers will be able to sell their
produce and make a profit.
"It is a very good move made by the Agronomic Board. This now means that local
products will get space in the Namibian market," he said.
"Sometimes products of good quality are coming from South Africa, while the local
products are not really up to standard. South African products are at most identified as
to what kind or type of product they are and not like the unlabelled local products,"
Kwala said.
He noted that when it comes to branded products with descriptions, it is always easy for
a consumer to choose their products.
According toKwala, South Africa has a strong empowerment policy for farmers that
provides a good financial back-up. "That makes them practise their farming perfectly,"
he said.

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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