Of the 19 crops on the special import permit list that was released by the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), only five can be imported without restrictions, from 1 to 30 June 2022, except for the mandatory 47% market share promotion.
A statement from NAB chief executive officer Fidelis Mwazi dated 27 May, says the five crops are all types and sizes of gem squash, water melon, sweet melon, spinach and potato washed.
According to Mwazi, the restrictions regulate the movement of horticultural produce into the country and to protect Namibian farmers against the importation of cheap products, which could flood the local market.
“Potato washed is only open for unrestricted importation for the first two weeks of the month up to 15 June,” said Mwazi.
A 20% pro rata importation of all types and sizes of carrots and sweetcorn will be allowed for the first two weeks of the month to 15 June while a 30% pro rata importation of lettuce (iceberg) will be allowed for the month.
Namibia’s borders will, however, be closed for the month for the importation of beetroot, butternut, cabbage, English cucumber, coloured pepper, green pepper, onion, pumpkin, sweet potato, and round and jam tomatoes.
NAB manages the Noordoewer, Ariamsvlei, Buitepos, Muhembo, Ngoma, Wenela, Katwitwi, Oshikango, Omahenene and Walvis Bay entry/exit points.
Namibia is not alone in imposing bans on the importation of horticultural produce.
Botswana has also banned the importation of 16 vegetables, including tomatoes, garlic, onions and cabbage from South Africa and other exporting countries and the minister of agriculture Fidelis Molao said the ban is here to stay.
According to Botswana publication Mmegi Online of 18 May, the ban will be reviewed every other year but only to add more commodities on the ban list rather than to relax it.
Molao said the import ban, which kicked in on 1 January, is imperative to supporting farmers in Botswana and fostering agricultural independence.
Molao added that Botswana’s N$12 billion yearly spend on food imports was a major concern for the nation and said the country needed the policy to make it more self-sufficient and protect and support local farmers, Mmegi reported.
On Botswana’s list of banned commodities are: tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, chilli peppers, butternut, water melons, sweet peppers, green mealies and fresh herbs.
“We have the land; we have the ability, but we don’t have the market. This is what the farmers are saying,” Mmegi quoted Molao as saying.
“We need, as a country, to get the foodstuff we need from our farms rather than relying on other countries. We need to link local communities to plant and plough to build our food independence,” he said.