SIKONDO - Sikondo green scheme project assistant manager Maxwell Nghidinwa says in order for the fresh produce market to be sustainable there is a need to have a supply chain where there are producers, wholesalers, retailers and for that supply chain to be respected for everyone to benefit.
“Currently the chain is there but everyone bypasses it due to different challenges. For example, if a wholesaler is not paying the price that the producer wants then the producer will try to get his or her customers and that’s why it doesn’t sustain the chain,” Nghidinwa said when New Era recently visited the irrigation project.
Nghidinwa said that this time around they have maximised the project’s hectares for tomato. “Usually we plant on two hectares but this year we want to increase it to five hectares. We expect 60 tons per hectare and that’s around 40 to 50 crates per week,” he said.
When asked how the tomato production was proceeding in the simmering heat, he responded: “That’s why we put some in the net shades because the net shades are there to actually elongate the season so that we don’t come out of the market early and it gives shade to the crops and we are able to stay longer in the season. We planted in September and we only go out of the season maybe in June next year, so we start harvesting from 16 November to next year June.”
He said production will increase now that the tomato crops are fresh and starting, and it will reach its peak in December, January; and in February it will start to decline because of factors such as the rain, because sometimes they get too much rain which is also not good as it causes a lot of rotting
“Our current market is the two Kavango regions and we also take some produce to Katima Mulilo in Zambezi Region, but the issue is just that the market is not consistent and cannot absorb as much produce because the are other subsistence farmers producing tomatoes informally. So we are basically facing competition and that’s why it’s important at this stage if we want our market to be sustainable we need to have a supply chain where we have producers, wholesalers, retailers and for us to respect this chain, then everyone benefits,” he said.
Apart from tomatoes, Sikondo has potatoes, watermelons and also cumbers in the commercial section of the field which will be hitting the market shortly.