NAMIBIA – The Namibian Agronomic Board has permitted potatoes and lettuce (iceberg) as the only horticultural crops that may be imported into the country without restriction for January, although the 47% market share promotion (MSP) scheme applies.

According to NAB chief executive Fidelis Mwazi, this is in line with the Agronomic Industry Act and the Namibian horticulture MSP scheme rules and regulations to protect local producers against competition from cheap and sometimes substandard imports.

The MSP concept revolves around substituting importing commodities that can be cultivated locally and relies heavily on traders of fresh produce to buy 47% Namibian products first before importing from outside the borders.

Traders who do not meet this requirement are not issued permits to import produce.

Mwazi also said the closure of the border for importation of 17 of the 20 crops on the special import list shows that Namibia’s nascent horticulture sector is growing and able to supply the country’s needs for January.

“This notice is subject to change and traders will be notified accordingly,” he said.

This development comes months after NAB revised the number of crops closed for importation from 12 to seven out of a total of 20 on the special import permit for the period 1-30 November.

These are part of efforts by the regulator to protect Namibia’s nascent industry from competition from cheap imports that might flood the market.

According to the notice to all horticulture traders signed by Mwazi, the revision of the importation list is in line with the Agronomic Industry Act and the Namibian Horticulture Market Share Promotion Scheme rules and regulations.

Currently, topping the list of crops which cannot be imported in January, apart from exclusions, are beetroot, butternut, cabbage, carrot and English cucumber.

“The border is also closed for the importation of coloured pepper, green pepper, gem squash and onion,” said the notice.

Also closed for importation are pumpkin, jam, cocktail/cherry/mini plum and round tomato, as the country has produced enough for its needs.

“Watermelon, sweet melon and sweetcorn as well as spinach can also not be imported for the month due to adequate supplies,” said Mwazi.

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