The government is aiming to establish a local market for dry beans for the first time and the outcome of an in-depth study in this regard will be ready by next April.
Gilbert Mulonda, manager of trade and promotions at the Agricultural Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA), announced this recently during the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Groundnut Association of Namibia in Summerdown.
Nutrient analyses were performed on marama beans (Tylosema esculentum) from different locations in Namibia and from three consecutive rainy seasons. The marama beans were roasted conventionally, as the beans are seldom eaten raw.
Results from this study show that the roasted Namibian marama beans contain high levels of protein.
The fatty acids are unsaturated and 87% are a combination of oleic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acid.
The bean also contains significant amounts of vitamins (A, B3, B6, folic acid, B12 and E) and minerals (iodine, iron and zinc).
To meet the future food and nutrition demands of an increasing population in southern Africa, and to make optimal use of marginal land, little-known plant species should be investigated, was the consensus at the AGM. The marama plant is a perennial legume that produces beans. It is native to dry areas with little seasonal rainfall and, being a legume, is particularly important in subsistence agriculture
These neglected crops have the potential to provide a more stable food supply.
Mulonda also shed light on permit procedures, and conditions on which AMTA receives funds from the Namibia Agronomy Board.
The day was a huge success with the largest attendance during a member meeting ever, followed by an information session.
Emmanuel Kambueza of the weather bureau predicted an early and good rainy season for agronomists. The provisional prediction, however, showed that it might be a short rainy season.
Francois Wahl from Agra thoroughly informed producers on how to fertilise sugar beans.
Wessel Higgs from Trio Trade discussed the intake of groundnuts as well as the expected seasonal price.
Rudolph Botha caused a great commotion and had producers laughing when he suggested that Namibian agronomists should rather not plant sugar beans on dry land. His contribution was a high point of the day and will definitely be remembered for some time. Johan Steenkamp of Hochland Tractors displayed a harvester and hammer mill.
Another highlight of the day was the announcement of the 2017 harvest king, Kasper Gunzel, who had an average yield of 1.68 tonnes p/ha for the season.