Outapi-The Governor of Omusati Region, Erginus Endjala, is irked that government institutions are not complying with a Cabinet decision for them to buy local produce.
He said the lack of implementation of the policy disadvantages small and medium horticulture producers and it is killing the local farmers.
“We don’t see these things happening. We have a good policy, but we are not implementing it. What is wrong?” questioned Endjala.
Endjala made the remarks at the Omusati Region Conference on Water, Food Security and Adaptation to Climate Change on Wednesday.
In 2014, Cabinet directed that offices, ministries and agencies include in their food supply tender specifications a requirement for food supplies to be sourced locally particularly from the National Fresh Produce Business Hubs, who in return is also mandated to source from the local farmers.
Endjala said he wants to see a situation where the farmers produce is consumed in government institutions such as hospitals, schools and the force.
“We don’t care if the retailers are not buying from the local farmers but, as government, we should create a market for them,” the governor said.
If the policy is not being implemented, Endjala said it is of no use encouraging horticulture farmers to continue producing.
“Here we are saying the people should produce, but we do not have a market for their produce. So who are they producing for?” questioned Endjala further.
The governor said it was equally disappointing that local produce from the farmers cannot be found in the formal market.
He said the Olushandja Horticultural Producer Association from the region has marketed 619 metric tons formally in 2016/17 financial year, but much of their produce went through the informal market.
“It is very painful, if not satanic, that our people are producing but what they are producing cannot be found in the formal market. We still have uncounted tonnes that have been sold in the informal market,” said Endjala.
In addition, the governor also wants government institutions to introduce staple food in their menus.