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Out of 800 Registered Producers, 500 Are Small-Scale

By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

More than 50 per cent of the total number of the registered producers on the Namibia Agronomic Board’s Agricultural Marketing Information Database systems are smallscale producers from the Northern Communal Area.
The Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) revealed this in its latest Season- Harvest Newsletter. The Board database shows that it has registered 800 producers around the country, and 500 of those are small-scale producers primarily farmed in the northern communal areas (NCA).
The board assessment revealed that approximately 70 per cent of their vegetable outputs are sold in the informal markets, and only 30 per cent goes to the formal market.
This is despite a procured local directive from the Ministry of Finance prohibiting various governmental institutions from sourcing their fresh produce and meat products within NCA unless there is no sufficient supply. According to the newsletter, the small-scale producers’ average land size is more than on hectare, and only a few increased plant to around three hectares.
The 30 per cent access to the formal market for the small-scale producers is also happening despite the Market Share Promotion (MSP) scheme which has been in place since 2005. The scheme is meant to protect local producers from cheap agricultural imports and to create a market access opportunity for the producers. The MSP created a market for medium to large producers who can conform to the formal market requirements regarding the volume and quality-related factors compared to small-scale producers.
The board said small-scale producers face many challenges in supplying the traditional markets and conforming to the formal market specification and requirements. Currently, NAB is implementing its Linking Small-Scale Horticulture Producers (LSSHP) to the formal market. The pilot project will run for five years. It focuses on grooming small-scale producers in the NCA by creating awareness aimed at teaching the small producers the benefits of conforming the specifications of the formal market. Moreover, creating an enabling environment for the small-scale producers to upscale their production and market their products to registered traders in their respective production zones. The pilot project target three production zones in the NCAs, North Central, Kavango, and Zambezi production areas- with 15 project beneficiaries selected already. The project beneficiaries will be capacitated through technical support such as soil sampling and analysis, crop husbandry practices, post-handling produce, marketing of produce, and financial management.
According to NAB, this is to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills to produce good quality horticulture products that conform with the formal market specifications. The project beneficiaries will also be linked to Agribank to secure funding for their production, mainly farming inputs, expand and increase their output, and contribute to the market volume. The board stated that those without collateral could use offtake agreements to secure funding.
The LSSHP initiative is anticipated to contribute towards the MSP increase to achieve a 60 per cent local market share by 2025 while contributing to the socioeconomic and creating permanent and temporal employment in the northern communal areas.
For the harvesting season of 2021/22, the Zambezi Region marketed 8 893 tonnes of white maize to the millers. The biggest harvest ever recorded, according to NAB records. However, it has been noted many white maize producers in the Zambezi Region faced challenges in marketing their grains earlier in the season due to slower uptake by the millers in the region.
As a result, a high post-harvest loss rate was experienced by many producers in the region due to insect infestation, making their grain no longer suitable for formal marketing. As for the current production year (2022/23), the Zambezi Region producers are expected to harvest around 10 000 tonnes of white maize, even higher than last year.
NAB indicated that for this production season, they implemented a strategy to ensure smooth marketing of the white maize grain for the region by allocating tonnes to both millers within and outside the area. Millers outside the Zambezi Region are to voluntarily acquire their grain through the Agro-Marketing Trade Agency silos and through offtake agreements. Email:

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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