WINDHOEK – The Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (Amta) through the national strategic food reserves has purchased 392 tonnes of mahangu surplus from farmers as of January to date.
This follows an outcry by local farmers especially in the north who were stranded because nobody was buying their grain until they consulted Amta.
Since mid-January, Amta through the national strategic food reserves has been inviting mahangu producers still with surplus mahangu to contact their nearest silo centres to have their mahangu sold to Amta.
The government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry availed funds to Amta to procure the available locally produced surplus mahangu grain, which could not be bought by millers.
Millet (mahangu) producers are urged to ensure that their mahangu grain to be marketed to Amta are of the 2018 harvest season, and clean and free of live insects.
At the time, Amta had stated that no permits would be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry for millet imports until all the locally produced excess grain has been absorbed by Amta.
The agency also encouraged millers to buy locally produced mahangu.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Amta gave an update on the mahangu surplus purchased since January 5, when the mahangu procurement commenced this year.
It stated that as at February 19, Amta through the national strategic food reserves has purchased a total of 392 tonnes of surplus mahangu grain from a total of 283 producers.
Mahangu, also known as pearl millet, is a subsistence rain-fed cereal crop that is the major staple food for over 50 percent of the Namibian population. The regions in which this crop is produced are Zambezi; Kavango East; Kavango West; Ohangwena; Omusati; Oshana; Oshikoto, and in parts of Otjozondjupa, in the Tsumkwe area. So far, Amta indicated, Oshikoto has supplied the biggest volume of mahangu purchased – a recorded 141 tonnes of mahangu grain.
Amta revealed that by January 30, the registration of farmers to sell their grains stood at 1 500 producers and the registration is still ongoing.
Omusati Region has the most beneficiaries of 84 producers from the 283 recorded beneficiaries of the first round of this purchasing exercise.
Meanwhile, a total of 139 female beneficiaries marketed their surplus grain and 144 male beneficiaries were recorded.
Oshikoto had the highest number of mahangu bags purchased which stood at 2 815 from 76 beneficiaries, followed by Omusati with 1 852 bags of grain from 84 farmers, while Ohangwena sold 1 283 bags from 52 producers. Oshana sold 949 bags from 42 beneficiaries, Kavango West had 21 farmers who sold their 678 bags of mahangu, followed by Kavango East that sold 344 bags from eight beneficiaries.
No farmer from Zambezi and Otjozondjupa regions showed any interest in selling grain since the exercise started last month.
Amata said the operations continue and they will keep the nation updated.
Mahangu farmers in Namibia are amongst the few peoples in Africa who have successfully developed an integrated food storage system where they can store their grain in storage baskets made of wood strips for up to five years.
On the recommendation of the Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB), mahangu was gazetted a controlled crop on May 15, 2008 by way of government gazette No. 109.
This mandate ensures that from July 1 every year, no permits are granted for the import and export of mahangu until the total locally produced harvest is sold, guaranteeing a free market within the boundaries of Namibia.
Over this period of time millet is marketed and sold in line with a production cost-related floor price.
According to NAB, a subsequent five-year Mahangu Development Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 based on the key success factors of the Mahangu Development Plan 2010 – 2013, is soon to be implemented.
The main objective of the Mahangu Development Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 is to advance the commercialisation of the crop and support the mahangu value chain within the borders of the Republic of Namibia. With much of the Mahangu Development Plan 2010 – 2013 achieved, a focus area in the Mahangu Development Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 is to provide further support to surplus producers and to encourage current subsistence producers to make available their grain for uptake into the commercial processing sector.
2019-03-01 09:48:55 5 months ago