500 hectares for barley

From L to R:AGRIBUSDEV, managing director, Petrus Uugwanga, the acting Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Abraham Nehemia, Managing Director at NBL, Hendrik Van der Westhuizen with some of the local products produced by the local barley producers during the signing of the MoA. (Photograph by Musa Carter)

The 10 year Barley industry development plan entered a new stage following the official signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement on Wednesday between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAWF), Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev) and the Namibian Brewery Limited (NBL) on the production of barley at some GRN Green Scheme projects.

The agreement was inked as the result of a journey that started 5 years ago through barley trials executed by the University of Namibia and the MAWF at the the Shadikongoro Irrigation Project, some 180 kilometres east of Rundu in the Mukwe Constituency and recently a presentation provided by NBL to the Ministry and the rest of the parties on 16 June.
According to the acting Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Abraham Nehemia, speaking on behalf of the ministry, the common intention of the parties is to promote, commit and implement a 10 year barley industry development plan in Namibia.
“The fundamental concept of the governing frame work should be combined efforts of public and private institutions for commending Public Private Partnerships,” he added.
AGRIBUSDEV, Managing Director, Petrus Uugwanga in response to questions from the Economist said, in this project AGRIBUSDEV shall be responsible for the production of barley at selected Green Scheme Projects.
According to him the production of barley which will begin next winter shall be done at any of the Green Scheme Projects that are interested to produce barley.
“Prior to the production season, Green Scheme Projects have to submit their cropping programmes for approval. These cropping programmes indicate the different type of crops to be produced. At this stage there is no specific Project that will produce barley. The cropping programmes of Projects will give an indication,” he added.
Uugwanga said that AGRIBUSDEV shall avail 500 hectares of land in total from all Green Scheme Projects and before the production season starts a supply agreement shall be entered into between NBL and AGRIBUSDEV. This agreement shall set out and define amongst others, commodity price and all related conditions.
Meanwhile, Hendrik Van der Westhuizen managing director at NBL said currently at NBL they import close to 45,000 metric tonnes of malted barley in the production and with this scheme breweries are set to cut down costs in the long term.
We will eventually buy barley from the scheme as a long term strategy and will also use the barley in some of our non-alcoholic beverages.
In conclusion, Nehemia assured all parties that his ministry will continue to work with the private sectors in order to create the local industry and invest in new products.