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NAB in Deal to Grow Bananas in Namibia

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) last Friday signed a transformative agreement with AvaGro for the provision of banana trees in an effort to reduce the amount of bananas imported into the country.

According to a statement from NAB, Namibia imports 100% of its banana requirements, predominantly from South Africa, despite being the most consumed fruit after apples.

NAB added that in 2022, Namibia imported 6 394 tonnes of bananas worth N$57 million.

“While small-scale productions are currently taking place in the Zambezi, Kavango, North Central, Karst and Central production zones of Namibia, these are primarily for own consumption,” said NAB.

The agreement is aimed at developing Namibia’s banana industry in areas of research and development and will help to address the main challenge hindering banana production in the country, which is access to high-quality and disease-free seedlings that not only have better yield and taste, but are also adaptable to Namibia’s climatic conditions.

This was confirmed by the founder and chief executive of AvaGro, Leonie Hartman, who said they will produce small banana plants they will sell to small-scale farmers, as well as commercial farmers to grow their own fruit.

The AvaGro flagship project is based on an 8 hectare (ha) plot outside Swakopmund where they grow mainly flowers and vegetables on a commercial basis.

According to NAB, the seedlings will be produced in a tissue culture laboratory.

Thereafter, field trials will be conducted in the different production zones of Namibia that have favourable climate and soil, before being released for commercial production.

“This initiative will benefit both small and large-scale farmers located in the targeted production zones,” said NAB on its website.

AvaGro is an agricultural enterprise, borne out of the intent to contribute to the shift from traditional farming to precision agriculture.

AvaGro use their experience to advance tailor-made solutions for a range of crops in varying climatic conditions and so help foster sustainable growth on the continent.

AvaGro works with smallholder farmers, agri-preneurs and larger scale cultivators to implement customised concepts for agricultural production in challenging environmental conditions like Namibia’s desert climate.

Source : Namibian