Omusati tomato processing plant delayed

A tomato processing plant in Omusati region is experiencing construction delays due to funding challenges.

Omusati Regional Council chairperson Modestus Amutse told The Villager that the council still needs to top up N$4 million to complete the processing factory to be located near Epalela in Onesi Constituency.

“The Government has availed N$1.4 million that we have used for the feasibility study and will also be used to construct a road and bring electricity,” he said.

Amutse told The Villager that at this rate the construction will only be finished toward end of next year although it should have been sooner.

He said the project comes as a backdrop to President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity plan which aims to improve the standards of living for Namibians and also making them meaningful role players in the mainstream economy.

The council has embarked on an initiative that will enable local gardeners to become huge suppliers of produce to an impending tomato processing plant.

Amutse said, “Although government is doing its utmost best to avail funds to complete this plant, we need to remember that they cannot do it on their own. I am inviting all private companies to come on board to complete the factory which has the potential to create jobs and improve many people's living conditions.”

He further said that the council is working on the second phase of the project which is to make sure that there is electricity in the vicinity of the Epalela constituency, including a tarred road.

“We are currently very busy with the phase two of the project, what will be next will be constructing the building itself. We are done with the sketching of the building, we just need to choose the correct one,” he explained.

Although the drawing for the upcoming tomato factory processing plant is already done, Amutse noted that the council will have to choose a smaller building due to budget constraints.

“We need to start small, we don’t want to choose a big building and we struggle to finish it, but rather something we can sustain for now. We are calling all private companies for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) so that we can speed up the process,” he said.

Amutse who stressed about the Government being their only source of funding said that the council is willing to engage local entrepreneurs on this project.

Emphasising on the importance of the plant, Amutse said, after the completion of the plant, the factory will add value to what gardeners are already producing in the Omusati region while offering a support mechanism to local tomato producers.

“We have a lot of producers specialising in growing tomatoes and most local producers struggle to improve their businesses and generate an income that could sustain them because of the lack of demand,” he noted.