All bets on grapes and dates for Agribusdev
The Agricultural Business Development Agency (AGRIBUSDEV) plans to devote the Orange River Irrigation Project (ORIP) to boost the agency’s financial needs. AGRIBUSDEV relies solely on the government for income as it is unable to generate additional income.
Established in 2011, AGRIBUSDEV is a state-owned section 21 company that oversees, implements and concentrates on serving the 11 Green Scheme Projects in line with government plans for self sustaining food security according to the Green Scheme Policy of 2008.
A viable business model is needed to ensure sufficient income to support AGRIBUSDEV.
The ORIP could potentially generate N$13 million in profit for AGRISBUSDEV come 2016.
The expansion of ORIP will generate an estimated 37.8.million come 2019 from grape production alone. 30 % of profits from ORIP will be reinvested into the project while the rest will go towards financing AGRIBUSDEV operations.
“ORIP may perhaps be the opportunity AGRIBUSDEV is looking for to become viable and financially self-reliant as an organisation”, its Strategy document reads on the financial viability of the agency whose total operational budget is just over the half way mark of N$38 million.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa said at the launch of the AGRIBUSDEV Strategy for 2015 to 2020 that the document outlines the country’s plan for food security at household and national levels in line with the Ministry’s Strategic Plan, Growth at Home Strategy and the Industrialization Policy document.
50 km from Noordoewer in the //Karas Regions, the ORIP which produces mostly high commercial value table grapes and dates for export markets could potentially generate sufficient income for AGRIBUSDEV to subsidise its total cost of operation.
The project is currently being managed through a Profit-sharing Agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Cool Fresh Namibia (Pty) Ltd.
This agreement will likely be terminated in favour of AGRIBUSDEV, allowing it to manage the 600 hectares with 232 hectares currently under irrigation. Small-scale farmers occupy 80 hectares.
The Green Scheme Irrigation Projects supply more than 95% of the National Strategic Food Reserve silos. An estimated 18,000 metric tonnes of the 30,000 metric tonnes is sourced from these Green Scheme Projects.
Currently infrastructure upgrade and maintenance of the projects will cost AGRIBUSDEV N$9 million, with a further N$70,0000 to procure new machinery and implements.