Rundu fresh produce hub still operational: Thikusho

The Rundu fresh produce distribution hub is currently in the process of registering local farmers with the Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) for the purpose of supplying to government agencies.

The acting regional manager GervasiusThikusho on Tuesday in an interview with Nampa encouraged small scale farmers as well as youth groups to register before stating that the fresh produce hub has not closed and is operational.

It was reported last week Monday that AMTA had closed all its fresh produce distribution hubs as all agents were given notice to leave.

Thikusho explained that AMTA will assist producers to develop a cropping calendar in line with the government agencies, offices and ministries.

This program of inviting farmers he added has been running since early June.

The acting regional manager said it supplies produce to some of the government agencies such as the military bases in the Kavango East, West, and the Zambezi region through August 26 Logistics.

The hubs are open so farmers that already have produce can start communicating to us. For those that we do not have information on can come through, Thikusho said.

Production at the hub declined for various reasons the acting regional manager stressed such as climatic issues thus the hub is trying to boost up production again.

In 2014/15 the hub had a throughput of 863 metric tons (MT), 751 MT in 2015/2016, 1545 MT in 2016/17, 1153 MT in 2017/18 and 708 MT in 2018/19.

Farmers can only produce if there is a secured market. Other than that it is a little difficult because the risk is too high, he stressed.

Currently the hub he noted sources from different producers in the region such as Tengu Farm in Kavango West, Sikondo Irrigation small scale farmers, Salem, and Mashare Irrigation.

Thikusho said the hub is busy negotiating with most of the government agencies, ministries and offices for AMTA to start supplying to them.

These are the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education.

The hub he confirmed faced out all six agents as many could not meet their targets of 120 MT per month.

The hubs are directly trading now, Thikusho said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency