Namibia's Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) is concerned about certain individuals who have been accused of smuggling fresh produce into Namibia via unchecked entry points from neighboring countries such as Zambia and Angola. This smuggled fresh produce varies from fresh tomatoes, potatoes, beans, onions, avocados and paw paws.
According to the AMTA, these illegal activities hamper and rob local farmers of an opportunity to supply fresh produce. “It is sad to note that during these trying times post Covid-19, when the country is striving to grow and stabilize its economy, some citizens allegedly resort to such syndicates of smuggling in fresh produce,” said AMTA spokesperson Pasval Elijah.
Elijah said although these activities may hamper the efforts of farmers and the agency through market destabilization, AMTA continues to work tirelessly to fulfil its objective of supporting local farmers.
The illegal smuggling syndicates were confirmed by Zambezi community policing unit commander, Kisco Sitali. “We have seen a number of commodities such as beans, groundnuts, peanuts, tomatoes, onions and sweet potatoes being smuggled into Namibia and sold on the black market”.
Although he could not quantify the monetary value of these goods, Sitali said in most cases, the goods, particularly those that are perishable, are destroyed, while those of value are sold at public auctions.