NAMIBIA – The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has imposed temporary ban on certain vegetable importation following increased supply from the local producers, reports Namibian.

According to Lesley Losper, national horticulture manager at NAB, the ban applies to 10 most consumed products in the country packaged in five and 10 kilogrammes.

NAB said it closed off the borders for cabbage, carrots, unwashed/brushed potatoes, butternut, tomatoes, English cucumbers and beetroot until the regulator has undertaken a thorough assessment of production and supply to the local market.

Losper added that both retailers and suppliers will be informed of the assessment results to ensure coordination and that the market is supplied sufficiently.

“Border closure is applied only to these 10 vegetables, which is done every month. So every month, local producers will provide updates on their produce supply for the next month.

Traders and producers are also in supply arrangements hence producing per market needs,” he said.

Losper Said that the ban is aimed at helping local farmers increase supply of the commodities and leverage on the growing demand in a bid to boost their market share.

Currently, Namibia has about 90 major dealers in fresh produce supply which according to Losper are always sufficient to meet the demand of the local market during border closure.

Losper reports that the country imports about 50% of its vegetables and majority of its fruits with plans underway to establish a local empowerment strategy.

“We are to engage the industry to come up with a production and marketing strategy that explores the potential of producing each of the top five fruits consumed in Namibia,” he said.

However, the country is a net exporter of onions and grapes with South Africa and Angola being the major markets.

The most consumed vegies in the country are potatoes, onions, butternut, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, English cucumber, sweet potato, and beetroot while apples bananas and oranges rank as most consumed fruits.

According to national statistics, the production of horticulture exported in 2017/18 grew to 13 946 tonnes while the locally marketed produce increased to 28 599 tonnes in 2017/18 from 24 442 tonnes in 2016/17.

In 2018, Namibia’s total fruits and vegetables imports were valued at US$53.38 million (N$749 million).

In December last year, the country closed the borders off for tomatoes, English cucumbers, butternuts, catering carrots and beetroots.