Nominations for horticulture producer of the year award open.
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has announced that the nomination process for Horticultural Producer of the Year Awards has begun.
The awards recognise horticultural production on the part of all farmers producing for the market. Among the aspects that the judging will highlight are professionalism, innovation and sustainability on the part of farmers. The Awards are also intended to encourage local horticultural production in the interests of Namibian food security.
Producers are eligible for the title of National Horticulture Producer of the Year in three categories:
Large Scale Producer of the Year, where the producer farms on an area of 10 or more hectares
Medium Scale Producer of the Year, where the producer farms on an area of between three and 10 hectares
Small Scale Producer of the Year, where production takes place on three hectares or less
In 2016, the winning producers were Laurentia Nakandanga of the Kavango East Region in the small-scale category, Andreas Ashimbanga of the Omusati Region in the medium-scale category, and Jan Cronje of the Oshikoto Region in the large-scale category. In addition to trophies and certificates, winners received gift vouchers from NAB, AMTA and input suppliers.
Talking about horticulture in Namibia, Christof Brock, CEO of NAB, said that in the NAB 2015 / 16 financial year, 73,439 tons of horticultural produce was sold in the formal market. Approximately 44% of this was produced in Namibia, despite drought conditions. Brock said this is testimony to the resilience and dedication of local farmers. Some 10 years ago, the figure of local production was still around 5%.
In order to ensure local production of vegetables and fruit, NAB regulates the horticulture industry through the Market Share Promotion (MSP) scheme, which is implemented by AMTA as an agent of the NAB. In terms of the MSP, importers of fresh horticulture products are required to source a minimum percentage of their products from Namibian producers, prior to qualifying for an import permit in a given quarter. If traders do not meet the required percentage, a pro-rata reduced import permit is issued.
Horticultural producers are encouraged to submit nomination forms, which must be endorsed by their NAHOP Area Committee, which represents Namibian horticultural producers. Nomination forms are available from the NAHOP Area Committees and can be downloaded here.
Entries close on 12 June 2017. Farm evaluation visits will be done by a panel of judges comprising of representatives of the NAB, NAHOP, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, AMTA, Agribusdev and previous winners of the award.
Evaluations will take place between 15 and 25 June 2017. Winners will be announced at the National Horticulture Day, which will take place later in the year.