By Anna Ingwafa
The millet staple has been gazetted as a controlled crop under the Namibian Agronomic Act 20 of 1992 in Government Gazette Number 4047 of 15 May 2008.
This means for the first time mahangu will enjoy the same privileges enjoyed for a long time by maize and wheat, as these have now been extended to mahangu.
It will ensure that all Namibian marketable mahangu surpluses are marketed before imports are allowed again.
The minimum price of mahangu grain and maize grain is also going to be the same, explained Namibian Agronomic Officer at Oshakati Lukas Lungameni last week.
Some of the legal implications explained in the gazette are that all millers other than service millers who buy or mill their own mahangu for the purpose of selling mahangu flour will have to be registered with the Namibia Agronomic Board and pay a levy.
“All mahangu milling activities with the aim of selling to the public without a license after 17 July 2008 will be illegal. Producers who sell mahangu to millers also will have a small levy deducted at the point of sale. It is now illegal to import mahangu grain and mahangu flour into Namibia,” he said.
The Government Gazette Schedule prescribes that a person who produces and sells this crop must pay a general producer levy on the selling price thereof and the rate of levy payable this year is 0.5 percentages plus Value Added Tax (VAT), and the rate of levy payable in 2012 will be 1.4 percent plus VAT.
And a person who produces for own milling and selling for his or her benefit mahangu seed must pay a general producer levy on the selling price thereof, while the rate of the levy payable is the same for the person who produces and sells for benefit.
In addition, a person who imports into Namibia mahangu seeds, or agronomic products which are derived from grinding, crushing or milling of pearl millet seeds must pay a general levy on the landed cost at the rate of 0.5 percent this year and 0.95 in 2012, and the same charges apply to a person who purchases mahangu seed for sale.
The importers and exporters of mahangu must present a permit to the Namibian Agronomic Board as well as an invoice of purchase issued by the seller at the borders.
According to Lukas, penalties will be imposed on all the non-compliance and all disputes must be referred to the office of the Namibian Agronomic Board.
The realization of this mahangu project comes through the former Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Nickey Iyambo, who noted it as progress made aiming at giving Namibia food security.
Iyambo said earlier that such progress was recorded in making mahangu a controlled commodity like other grain crops. This means no mahangu will be imported into Namibia until such a period when the locally produced product has run out.
About 70 percent of the country’s population depends on agricultural activities (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood.
Iyambo also revealed that grain storage would strategically be located in food producing regions, namely Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto regions. These regions are the ones that grow mahangu.
Food production initiatives have long been lagging behind due to limited resources.