By Hilary Mare
AGRO-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) in its previous financial year confiscated 5 225 metric tons (MT) of illegally imported maize meal and wheat flour, Confidente has learnt.
According to the Agency’s 4th annual report for the 2016/2017 period, some of the confiscated products were destroyed or returned to the country of origin.
“Transgressors were issued with fines and penalties,” highlights the report.
During the reporting period, 15 488 trucks carrying import consignments, 11 836 trucks carrying in-transit consignments and 3 634 trucks carrying export consignments were inspected at the borders, the report further states
On the other hand there was an observable increase in the export of produce in Quarter 3 of the financial year when compared to Quarters 1, 2 and 4. This can be attributed to the seasonal export of table grapes.
Last year Confidente unearthed that, expired food stuffs amounting to millions were discovered at a retail outlet in china town with revelations that the illegally imported food had been getting shelf life at the expense of consumer’s health.
The products particularly the agricultural products such as baking flour and maize meal were brought in the country illegally from Asia via South Africa under the disguise of grain.
In a raid that happened last year in the presence of this publication, health inspection officials from AMTA representing the government and acting in accordance with the law which prohibits the importation of maize meal confiscated three truckloads of expired agri-goods.
The good carrying an approximate value of N$1 million were dumped and destroyed at Kupferberg general and hazardous waste disposal site near unam.
“What you see here are food stuffs that have been imported illegally and most of them are expired. We are going to issue them a fine amounting to at least 40 percent of all the illegal goods that we have confiscated. If they were in possession of an import license we could have cancelled it for half a year,” explained one inspector from AMTA who refused to be named.
However in this particular reporting period, maize producers managed to market 39 153 MT of maize grain, of which 8 321.55 MT was marketed to the reserve, which represents 21 percent of local produce marketed. The quantity of grain marketed to the reserve was 7.4 percent less than grain marketed to the reserve during the previous year. The maize grain marketed decreased by 26 percent when compared to the maize grain marketed to the reserve during the previous year.
The low quantity of maize grain marketed to the reserve was a result of non-surplus maize produced by the small holder maize producers in the maize producing regions o Zambezi and Kavango East. This was attributed to the late start of the 2015/2016 rainy season in November to early December 2015, followed by irregular and insufficient rainfall with dry spells in December 2015 and January 2016.
Food Security and Drought Situation Report (June2016) confirmed that maize production in the communal area (Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West Regions) declined by 16 percent from the previous season’s harvest, falling 68 percent below the average production.
The quantity of mahangu grain marketed to the reserve for the 2016/2017 financial year was 96 percent more than the previous year and 51 percent more than the mahangu marketed to the reserve in 2012, which was the highest ever since the inception of the programme.
“I cannot ignore the challenges of the past financial year. The drought was a test of strength for the entire country. However, thanks to smart planning, the government’s National Strategic Food Reserves were able to sustain us. Work has to continue no matter what, because our people can benefit greatly from this plan,” Abraham Nehemia, the chairperson of the AMTA board said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015