Namibian producers made approximately N$77.4 million in the first quarter of 2015 from locally- produced agricultural and horticultural products.
The agricultural and horticultural industry, consisting of both imports and locally-produced products, had a total turnover of N$158 million.
This was an increase from the average turnover of N$145 million recorded in the same period last year.
In terms of the Market-Share Production (MSP) system introduced, the threshold was increased from 39% to 41.5%.
This means that retailers need to source 41.5% of their agricultural and horticultural products from local producers, while the other 58.5% can be imported.
Despite the 41.5% MSP threshold which was set, the actually-obtained MSP in the first quarter of 2015 was 49%.
The N$77.4 million garnered by local farmers was a calculation of the 49% against the N$158 million total turnover recorded in the first quarter.
With the aim of promoting local producers, the National Horticulture Task Team, which hosts quarterly meetings, aims to increase the MSP to at least 60%, with the remaining 40% being imports.
Except for onions and potatoes, local producers also produce cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potato, greenpepper, butternuts and beetroot, which are considered the top seven crops.
Fidelis Mwazi, Senior Market Promotion and Research Manager from the Agro-marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) said in an interview with The Villager this week that instead of the country receiving a percentage of imports, 100% of certain products can be procured locally.
“We have closed the border for the imports of white onions because we produce enough. We have a surplus, and are currently exporting to Angola and South Africa.
We are, however, importing the red, brown and pickle onions because we unfortunately produce very little of those, if at all,” he stated.
Mwazi noted that the decision to increase or decrease the MSP is a vital one because it is where all the decisions are based.
“The actually-obtained MSP is different from the MSP set. On a quarterly basis, the MSP fluctuates, and thus the actually-obtained MSP fluctuates,” he explained.
The country’s exports are mainly driven by onions and potatoes, of which most exports go to neighbouring Angola.
Namibia imports the bulk of her agricultural and horticultural supplies from South Africa, which represents almost 90% of the total imports.
Despite the canvassing for 100% local producers, it is not possible for Namibia to have its MSP too high because there are certain products which it cannot produce, like apples, as the environmental conditions do not favour the growing of apples.
Namibia’s conditions are more favourable for growing vegetables rather than fruits
If the MSP percentage goes any higher, it can only remain at 60%, unless local producers can supply the country with 100% of those products which they can produce.
Meanwhile, the recently-released trade statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) show that the country continues to depend on South Africa as a major source of imports as the import bill from that country continues to rise.
This time around, it rose slightly by 7.8% to account for N$12.6 billion in the first quarter of 2015, compared to N$11.6 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
The overall value of imports from Namibia’s key import markets (Botswana, South Africa, Switzerland, Angola, and Democratic Republic of Congo) was N$16.3 billion, an increase by 22% in the quarter under review, as opposed to the N$13.4 billion in the same quarter in 2014.
“These markets accounted for 84.1% of total imports in the first quarter of 2015, in comparison to the 65% in the same quarter of 2014,” the report noted.