Namibian grape season starts amid Dutch buyer controversy
The Namibian grape season kicked off this week without incident despite tensions between farmers and exporters, newspaper The Namibian reported.
Orange River Irrigation Project (ORIP) farmers have said they would prefer to deal with local buyers who offer a higher price than deal exclusively with Cool Fresh Namibia.
In 2009 the government signed an agreement with Dutch parent company Cool Fresh International to provide expertise and funds for 20 small-scale ORIP farmers in return for buying their produce.
However, 10 of the farmers are in talks with another Dutch importer Olympic Fruit Suppliers over buying its fruit, the story reported.
Agriculture minister Andrew Ndishishi, has claimed the 10 farmers owe Cool Fresh Namibia and Agribank more than NAD$2 million (US$242,200).
Ndishishi has written to the Namibian Police asking them to prevent farmers dealing with anyone other than Cool Fresh Namibia.
He said the letter was sent out to prevent an outbreak of violence but said no court order had not been sent out to compel the police to intervene.
Despite the wrangle, Cool Fresh Namibia is currently in talks to provide cooling facilities and packaging materials for the farmers.
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Photo: The Namibian