By Bahle Gama
The growth in beetroot and tomato production by local farmers has resulted in the restriction of importing these vegetables by the country. The restriction which will be effected on October 30 was issued by the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard) after having noted the growth and availability of these vegetables from local farmers.
Communications officer Melusi Dlamini said NAMBoard in keeping with practice, will be restricting the importation of these produce lines until further notice. “Retailers are advised to intensify their sourcing from local farmers and consumers are encouraged to increase their intake of these vegetables because of their high nutritional value and health benefits,” Dlamini said.
He said that Cherry tomatoes were excluded from the restriction and NAMBOard will continue to monitor the situation very closely. This is to ensure that the restriction is reviewed immediately if the volumes fall below the threshold to avoid market gaps.
He further advised farmers to update their planting, production, and harvesting records on the Eswatini National Horticulture Platforms. Dlamini said is vital that they register and upload information regarding planning,forecast harvesting yields, and dates.
“This will assist Namboard with gathering the key evidence needed to limit the importation of those commodity lines which are projected to be in over-supply locally,” he said. The communication officers stated that market extension officers will continue to focus on helping farmers make good economic decisions on the production and marketing of their produce.
Dlamini said these officers are a conduit for transmitting market-related information to farmers.
This includes price trends, production innovations, future demand, changes in consumer preferences, and further training opportunities. They also assist farmers in making informed production decisions, the prime of which is production according to market requirements, including product specifications, varieties, time of planting, and profitability of selected crops.
He added that NAMBoard is committed to connecting farmers with a viable market option for their produce both locally and internationally. “We remain committed to working together in harmony with importers, exporters, retailers, vendors, and as well as farmers in the country,” Dlamini said.