Guest Contributor | Oct 14, 2021 | 0
Fresh produce hubs earmarked to supply institutions
Government institutions will soon include in their food supply tenders specifications, a requirement that food supplies be sourced locally, particularly from the National Fresh Produce Business Hubs, according to the 3rd Cabinet Chambers Cabinet Meeting held earlier in the year.
According to a media release from Cabinet chambers, they recommended that procurement of fresh produce by all government offices, ministries and agencies be directed to include local fresh produce in their food supply tenders.
The government institutions are also encouraged to source fresh produce from Green Scheme irrigation projects and also from willing private individual farmers, with the aim to ensure that local fresh produce is marketed through the hubs.
“It is on the basis of the aforementioned facts that the relevant offices, ministries and agencies, will be expected to contribute meaningfully to the successful utilisation of the National Fresh Produce Business Hub facilities for public procurement,” according to the release.
At the meeting the Cabinet directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, through the Agricultural (AGRO) Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), to practically implement these cabinet decisions. They also directed the ministry to give regular feedback to cabinet with regard to the practical implementation of these decisions.
Cabinet approved AMTA as a specialized Agency within the agriculture ministry to coordinate and manage the marketing and trading of Agro fresh produce in the country.
Currently the agency operates two hubs situated in Rundu and in Ongwediva and according to the cabinet the third hub is currently under construction in Wanaheda, Windhoek.
The development of the hubs is part and parcel of the government’s programmes, aimed at contributing to national food security and nutrition, through the development of the agriculture value chain, for example agricultural production, processing, marketing, value addition and distribution. The presence of these facilities is meant to overcome the marketing of fresh produce through third countries (market rounding), payment of high transportation and foreign handling charges.
“It further follows logically, therefore that to utilize AMTA’s trade policy and strategy fully there is an imperative and justifiable need to preserve a fair share and to develop the domestic market for local consumption in government institutions.