Because of an abundance of local vegetables, the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has banned the importation of certain vegetables until the end of February 2019.
In a public announcement issued on 12 February, the crops regulator listed 7 of the 10 most consumed vegetables as being sufficiently available in the country, banning importation from 1-28 February 2019, or until further notice.
Lesley Losper, national horticulture manager at NAB, said the 10 most consumed products in the country are potatoes, onions, butternut, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, English cucumber, sweet potato, and beetroot.
National statistics show that Namibia imported about N$749 million worth of fruits and vegetables in 2018. The NAB closed off the borders for cabbage, carrots, unwashed/brushed potatoes, butternut, tomatoes, English cucumbers and beetroot packaged in five and 10 kilogrammes.
According to Losper, bans like these are only imposed when the NAB has done a thorough assessment of production and supply to the local market. Both retailers and suppliers are also informed of the assessment results to ensure coordination and that the market is supplied sufficiently.
Namibian.com.na further quoted him as saying: “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.”
“The intent of the market share promotions and the closure of borders is to ensure an increasing share of local produce on the Namibian fresh produce market thereby putting more money in the pockets of local farmers. It also ensures that less money leaves the country for the importation of fresh produce.”