Local Onions, Potatoes’ Production Promoted

Potatoes and onions are commodities that are most frequently imported and consumed in Namibia.

They also have the greatest potential for increased domestic production for import substitution. In order to stimulate potato and onion production in Namibia, and to promote sales of Namibian produced potatoes and onions, the Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB), encouraged by the Potato and Onion Industry, introduced the Potato and Onion Scheme, whereby wholesalers, retailers and catering companies are encouraged top source their produce locally.The effective implementation of the Potato and Onion Scheme necessitated a special horticultural commodity officer to focus on this project full-time and Gilbert Mulonda was employed to closely monitor and drive the scheme.

Under the scheme, traders will have to follow the Namibian Horticulture Market Share Promotion Rules and Regulations, specifically the basis of restriction on imports, which is quoted as “all importers will be obliged to source a minimum percentage of their purchases from local producers of fresh fruit and vegetables.” The Memorandum of Agreement of Potato and Onion Scheme between the Potato and Onion Producer’s Association and the Namibian Association of Traders in Fresh Produce is envisaged to be signed in the current financial year.

The objectives of the agreement are five-folded, to provide marketing assurance to the local potato and onion industry to provide a consistent and continued availability of potatoes and onions in the Namibian market to stimulate potato and onion production in Namibia and to promote domestic sales of the commodities to source locally produced potatoes and onions and to ensure a minimum floor price for landed produce to producers having regard to economic indicators for producers and traders.

According to statistics from the NAB, local production of potatoes and onions was higher than import for the 201213 financial year, which implies that local production has increased and the successful implementation of the Namibian Market Share Promotion has been achieved.

Source : New Era

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