The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) hereby responds to the newspaper article that appeared in the New Era of the 22 February 2018 with the caption “ Redline haunts small-scale farmers.”
You are kindly informed that Namibia does not have a redline for fruits and vegetables to reach the other parts of the country. On the contrary, the ministry is mandated to increase food production at national and household level in order to ensure food security and food self-sufficiency, which is fundamental for development. The restrictions on movement of certain fruits and vegetables, namely mango fruits, are simply meant to facilitate sustainable trade.
Namibia has a national fruit fly surveillance program since the invasion of the fruit fly in 2007.
The ministry through the Division of Plant Health has embarked on the national surveillance program throughout the country to monitor and control the fruits. Currently the ministry is monitoring the population dynamics of fruit fly, host range and distribution which are hotspot areas through the setting-up of 600 traps. Farmers have been trained and advised on the presence of fruit fly through identification, ecology and management.
In this regard so far, there is no fruit fly detected in the southern part of the country notably from Rehoboth, Mariental up to Noordoewer. Therefore, due to the grape and date production, which is exported outside the country, restricted movement of commodities are put in place in those areas to ensure compliance to the import requirements of the receiving country. Export requirements for vegetables to South Africa are set by South Africa. As such the ministry issues phytosanitary certificates according to the conditions required by the importing country.
The ministry through the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services (DAPEES) has established the Plant Health Division which is responsible for the plant health aspects including preventing, controlling pests as well as diseases in the country. The broad objectives of the Division are twofold:
• To protect Namibia’s plant resources from agricultural pests and diseases and to provide for the registration of agricultural remedies, animal feeds, animal feed establishments; fertilisers, fertiliser establishments, pet foods, pet food establishments, and sterilising units in order to promote human, animal and plant safety; to promote animal production and performance; to enhance agricultural production and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
• To ensure compliance with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures prescribed by the International Plant Protection Convention for Export Certification
Despite being responsible for managing and combating any pests and diseases in the country, MAWF does not control the movement of local commodities within the country. Most of the plant and plant products produced in the northern part of the country are traded to other parts of the country without any restrictions attached to it.
However, restriction measures are put in place and where a transboundary pest of economic importance has been identified, it is the responsibility of the ministry to put up measures to control and contain the pest, to avoid spreading of crop pests and diseases to other production areas, where they do not occur in order to facilitate sustainable