The Presidency has come to the aid of the small-scale farmers when it recently procured fresh vegetables from their gardens.
The vegetables were distributed to vulnerable and marginalised communities in Omusati and Kunene regions.
Minister in the Presidency, Christine //Hoebes said the procurement of local produce is a response to the plight of the small-scale farmers whose sales were affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.
“This emanated from the call of the small-scale farmers who because of the Covid-19 restrictions suffered because they could not sell their produce as they used to,” said //Hoebes.
//Hoebes said the small-scale farmers wrote to the President prompting the office to assist the farmers to sell off the produce they have been sitting with.
In Omusati, the vegetables were given to 137 expectant mothers at Outapi.
The farmers at Olushandja who benefited from the sales sung the government’s praises.
Governor Erginus Endjala lauded the government for responding to the plight of the farmers.
The farmers have for a long time bemoaned the lack of a market to sell their produce and have repeatedly asked the government to create a market for them. Although the government has a standing directive for government institutions to procure food locally, the directive is not being implemented.
The chairperson of the Olushandja Horticulture Farmers Association, Sylvanus Naunyango welcomed the move and praised the government for walking the talk.
Naunyango said the move by the Office of the President to procure food locally is a clear testimony that there is political will to implement the directive.
“We call on the technical people entrusted with this directive to implement it,” said Naunyango.
He calls on government institutions to emulate the Office of the President to boost the local economy and thereby ensure that Namibia becomes self-reliant in terms of food.
“We are indeed happy for the good gesture; and if this is how things were, it would be encouraging to produce more and become fully-fledged farmers,” said Naunyango. Currently, only 500 hectares at Olushandja are under production but Naunyango assured that there is room for expansion if the market is available. There are currently 115 farmers registered under Olushandja.
He assured that Olushandja has the capacity to produce a variety of crops, however, there is currently no sufficient market to sell their produce.
Their biggest customers are the people in the informal market.