NAB to suspend operators’ permits who refuse to buy local maize

Martin Endjala

Millers and silo operators who refuse to buy any marketable white maize from Namibian farmers during the 2024 market season, will result in the suspension or withdrawal of their import permits with immediate effect.

This was confirmed by Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) Chief Executive Officer, Fidelis Mwazi, who on Wednesday, stated that “no import permits will be issued for white maize to such an operator until such time when there is compliance.”

Mwazi also announced the restriction on the import of white maize into the country during the 2024 market season with effect from 1 May 2024.

He said this decision is in line with the import rules and regulations for white maize and the white maize marketing agreement of 2024.

“Due to poor rainfall received across the country, a total of 30,923 tons of white maize is expected to be harvested and marketed to millers and silos during the 2024 marketing season, and this excludes the Zambezi region due to ongoing field verifications.

The NAB shall strictly monitor the intake of such locally produced white maize grain by each miller/ silo operator to ensure that all the locally produced grains are bought. The importation of white maize grain shall be closely monitored for control purposes, to ensure uptake of locally produced white maize grain,” he said.

He added that the expected harvest will be allocated to the millers based on their historical average white maize grain demand for the close border season of the 2023 harvesting and marketing season.

He said millers or silo operators are expected to take up their allocations.

Meanwhile, Agronomy Development Manager, Loide Uahengo explained that although the NAB has issued this restriction, the borders will remain partially open to allow operators to import maize for the purpose of mixing locally produced maize with imported grain because of insufficient production.

“The expected local harvest of white maize is insufficient to meet the domestic grain

demand and as such the border will remain partially open for the importation of

white maize during the 2024 marketing season,” said Uahengo.

She explained that last year in May, the borders were closed off due to sufficient domestic white maize production.

Omusati Regional Governor, Erginus Endjala said the intention is to protect local producers and force millers to buy locally produced maize.

“The move has come at the right time,” he said.

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