Drought necessitates small-scale import of grains and beans

Niël Terblanché

Mahangu grains and beans purchased from Angola for own consumption within a radius of 60 kilometres from border posts will for the time being be exempted from the rules that verify agricultural products have been inspected and are pest and disease free.

In a statement, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform said the looming drought has necessitated the lifting of stricter Phytosanitary measures.

At the same time, the ministry is initiating awareness about the importation of grains and beans and the effect such material might have on the health of Namibian crops.

According to Nghituwamata, the ministry functions as the official National Plant Protection Organization and is a signatory member to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (WTO-SPS) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“As a member of the IPPC, Namibia undertakes to implement common and effective measures on national and international levels to prevent the importation and distribution of pests of plants and plant products, to promote methods of pest control, and to facilitate plant health education and awareness programmes,” she said.

Nghituwamata added that the ministry is initiating awareness about the importation of mahangu grains through entry points between Namibia and Angola.

“Due to the anticipated drought in Namibia, which may have impacted crop yield, the ministry foresees increased activities of sourcing and purchasing mahangu grains and beans from neighbouring countries such as Angola,” she said.

The ministry notified small-scale importers that the import, export, and transit rules and procedures pertaining to Controlled Agronomic Products permit the small-scale importation of controlled agronomic products into Namibia for commercial and personal use during the open border period and not during the close border period.

Small-scale importers, according to the notice, are allowed to import between 250kg or five 50kg bags and 500kg or ten 50kg bags of agronomic products (grain) per person per month for commercial use, and a maximum of 200kg or four bags of 50kg per person per month for personal use.

The ministry informed the public that the mahangu grains and beans purchased from Angola within a radius of 60km with the above-mentioned quantities, mainly for their own consumption, are exempted from the phytosanitary requirements.

“This arrangement is only applicable at entry points on the Namibian side and might not apply to the Angolan Competent Authority,” Nghituwamata said.

She advised any person, who might require import permits that the issuance of such permits will be facilitated at the ministry’s Directorate of Agriculture Production, Extension and Engineering Services offices at Omafo, Ongwediva and Outapi.

“The ministry would like to advise the public to ensure that Mahangu grains and beans imported into Namibia within the mentioned radius should be newly harvested grain, free from pests and disease and debris, free from soils and that the imported goods will be subjected to a physical inspection at the point of entry,” she said.

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