Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva-Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba expressed some level of satisfaction that the Ongwediva Fresh Produce Business Hub, which he inaugurated nearly five years ago during his presidency, has started to service horticultural farmers. The only word of advice he had was that fair prices be paid to farmers, saying they often receive below-market rates. Pohamba was particularly happy that the hub is encouraging those aspiring to venture into agribusiness to so, by providing a market for them. “Encouragement comes with the provision of the facility that ‘if I produce I have somewhere to take my produce’,” said Pohamba, when he toured the fresh hub on Monday. Pohamba – Namibia’s president between 2005 and 2015 - said the fresh produce hub is a beacon of hope for the Namibian people. However, the former president appealed to the Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) that manages the hubs to ensure they pay their suppliers a market related price. Pohamba was referring to an incidence where mahangu producers allegedly retained their mahangu harvest after AMTA asked them to reduce their prices. “I think there should be a reconsideration if we want people to produce. Let us make the people happy if we want them to produce,” said Pohamba. Also speaking at the same event, AMTA’s Managing Director Lucas Lungameni said the hub has increased its volume over a period of four years from 635 tons to almost 5000 during the last financial year. Lungameni assured the former president that Namibia will be fed and saved from poverty and food insecurity at all cost. Lungameni said the hubs present marketing avenues for producers to market their fresh produce and for formal and informal sectors to source fresh produce. In addition, the hubs create an opportunity for the local produce to enter the main stream fresh produce market and serve as central points for various trader and consumer groups to access fresh produce from all local farmers who are scattered around these regions. According to Lungameni, the national fresh produce business hub facilities were established for the purpose to stimulate agricultural production, marketing and value addition.
2018-02-21 09:02:35 7 months ago