Namibia is expected to become substantially less dependent on South Africa for fresh fruit by 2025 as Stampriet's Roots agricultural project plans to produce 35% of Namibia's fresh fruit and vegetables by then. Earlier this year, The Namibian reported that the import value of fruit amounts to an average of N$31 million per month, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency. This means Roots could cut this cost by N$10,85 million.
The project involves an agricultural village that creates opportunities for farmers to purchase land and be part of a small-scale co-operative.
“We chose the name Roots to symbolise the first of 14 agricultural towns we want to establish in Namibia, and to strengthen our motto of 'we need to produce what we eat, and must eat what we produce',” Salomon Kalondo, a Roots partner, told namibian.com.na. He also says the venture is fully privatised.
Roots started seven years ago when Jahenmar Trading Enterprises, a property development company, decided to diversify into agriculture to help create a food secure country and promote skills transfer in agriculture.
“With Namibia's monthly fruit import bill averaging N$31 million, we believe we can start producing fruit locally, create employment opportunities, and stimulate our economy in the process. So, this project was started to make a difference in Namibia,” Kalondo says.
Roots has a workforce of 250 employees, which is expected to grow to 350 by the end of the year. The project's produce has already made it onto the local market, which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, eggs and free-range chickens.