AMTA launches Foundation Strategy
The Agro Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA) launched its Strategic Plan and Foundation Strategy last week.
The Foundation Strategy will give AMTA members and stakeholders the confidence in the objective of the organisation for the next 5 years.
The next 5 years will be crucial for AMTA, as activities that will operate the facilities are put in action as well as the building of infrastructures to facilitate agricultural marketing processes, storage and trading.
The strategic objectives are the establishment of a stakeholder partnership ensuring that the volume traded is kept at a minimum 200MT per month per agent at each hub for 2015 and that AMTA is compliant with Food Safety and Total Quality Management requirements by 2018.
AMTA hopes to up its cereal and pulse reserves to 67 000 metric tonnes in line with infrastructure plans by 2018 together with the development of a rotation system that supports local millers and does not negatively impact prices with a rotational manual and guidelines.
The National Strategic Food Reserves’ current storage capacity which AMTA is mandated to manage, stands at 18 900 MT which is 28% of the targeted national storage capacity.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said at the event that government entities such as the Namibia Agriculture Board, AgriBusDev and AMTA are vital for the Agronomic Sector to create a strong value chain network and system that benefits the economy.
“We are in the process of expanding the national storage facility to increase its capacity in terms of storage space. At the moment the facilities are 68% fully stocked with grain locally sourced.” Mutorwa said, Adding that as the harvesting season is approaching they expect to receive grain from Green Scheme projects which are the major suppliers.
“This year we might not receive much surplus grain from subsistence farmers, this is due to the poor rainfalls received,” Mutorwa said.
AMTA hopes to stimulate demand for local fresh produce by creating trade channels throughput in achieving a commission income contributing to 30% total operating cost of AMTA by 2018.
A fleet management services is also underway to help producers get their produce to the Fresh Produce Hubs such as the ones in Ongwediva and Rundu. “I had the pleasure to launch the marketing activities of the two hubs, and I am informed they are operating very well. Gone are the days of calling them “white elephants,” Mutorwa said. The Windhoek Hub construction plans are still underway.
Mutorwas said that the construction of the strategically located hub, Windhoek Fresh Produce Business Hub is progressing very well and is expected to be complete in less than 3 years.
The Agriculture Minister said that AMTA is experiencing challenges with the window of the legislative transition, stakeholder engagement and effective participation from the industry players.
“Some individuals deliberately resist changes that will be beneficiary to the Namibian nation at large. One of the main purpose of amending the Act is to address the issue of conflict of interest where the regulated is also the regulator.”
AMTA has implemented a new organisational component of Standards and Trade Facilitation dealing with Licensing and Inspection, Border Control, Farm and Facilities Inspections, Market Promotion and Research and Food Safety and Diagnostics. Mutorwa said these units are operational and that stakeholders are giving their cooperation.