The Omusati Regional Council is in need of between N$3million to N$4million to complete the ambitious horticulture project which aims to erect a tomato processing plant in line with agitations by Government to improve value addition of locally produced products.
The project comes at a backdrop of President Hage Geingob launching his Harambee Prosperity plan which aims to improve the standards of living for Namibians and also making them meaningful role players in the mainstream economy.
The Omusati Regional Council has embarked on an initiative that will enable local gardeners to become huge suppliers of produce to an impending tomato processing plant.
The tomato processing plant, which will be situated in the vicinity of Epalela in Onesi Constituency, aims to enable many Namibians to make an income for themselves while advancing skill to those in the surrounding area.
Omusati Regional Council Chairperson Modestus Amutse, tells Prime Focus Magazine that, “We need to add value to what gardeners are already producing. The problem with people is that they are not encouraged to produce more products because there is no demand from the suppliers. If the supplier has a high demand, they are then encouraged to produce more products and this is the only way we can reach vision 2030.”
The Council has already conducted a feasibility study worth N$1.1 million and is currently busy with the construction process.
Amutse stresses that, “Very soon people will start building the security guard rooms and employing securities for the site. The project is near completion but it all depends on whether the funds that are available or not. As it stands however, the money is not enough and we still need about N$3million to N$4 million to put up the infrastructure.”
Amutse, who highly believes that the processing plant could be a success for the Omusati region, says that, the drought situation in the country would not affect the project because similar projects have been done all over the continent without fail.
“The tomato processing plant should be able to work because it has worked everywhere around the world despite the prevailing drought situation. We believe we can do it. We believe with the water canal, gardeners are able to produce healthy tomatoes to supply to the factory,” he says.
Amutse explains that the community needs to add value to what gardeners are already producing. “There are not enough support mechanism. Therefore, local producers struggle to improve their businesses and generate an income that could sustain them,” he says.
He also mentions that local producers in the country do not have lack the to supply their products to. Amutse thus believes that producers can only supply a small quantity of tomatoes and throw away the remaining tomatoes that rot as a result of insufficient demand.
“I believe that by creating a constant supply chain, producers are more encouraged to improve their production quantities,” he explains.
Amutse also notes that, “the processing plant would give many Namibians an opportunity to learn how to make products from tomatoes like soup and tomato sauce.”
He further explains that the country has the potential of becoming self-sufficient and creating opportunities for everyone with its natural resources but rather lacks creativity in this regard.
Although he believes that the processing plant could be an opportunity to create employment, he stresses that they would have to sell the factory to the private sector because government is not responsible for running factories.
“We are looking at employing more than thirty people at the factory, however we cannot give a specific number of people, because once the factory is completed, it will be sold to the private sector.”
“Although we are going to set up equipment’s already. We don’t know what the private owners would set up to suit their operations. They might choose to use advanced technology which takes up job opportunities,” he says.
However, the gardeners will continue to employ more than a hundred people depending on the demand of tomatoes from the factory. Amutse therefore urges the community to facilitate the opportunity to produce and create employment.