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‘Only four bags of Angolan mahangu per person, per month’

Written by on May 29, 2024

Namibians importing pearl millet (mahangu) from Angola for personal use during the ongoing drought may bring in four 50 kilogramme bags of the product per month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform says.

This comes after president Nangolo Mbumba requested that the police offer leniency to those importing mahangu from Angola to avert the effects of the drought.

Agriculture spokesperson Jona Musheko says the president’s call simply emphasises existing conditions, as noted in a public notice issued by the ministry in August last year.

In the notice, agriculture executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata said the ministry permitted the importation of mahangu in certain quantities to be exempted from phytosanitary requirements.

Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata

A phytosanitary certificate verifies that agricultural products have been inspected and are pest- and disease-free.

Nghituwamata noted that small-scale importers are informed of the existence of import, export and transit regulations and protocols linked to permits for the commercial and private importation of regulated agronomic products into Namibia for open border periods rather than closed border periods.

Namibia is facing its worst drought in 100 years, induced by El Niño, which is also affecting Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, who have declared a state of emergency.

Mbumba, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ondonga Heritage Shrine on Friday, said small-scale importers should be permitted to cross borders freely and Namibians should be allowed to buy staple food from Angola to avert local shortages due to the drought.

Nghituwamata noted that the mahangu grains and beans purchased from Angola within a radius of 60 kilometres, in the stated quantities, mainly for own consumption, are exempted from phytosanitary requirements.

The arrangement is only applicable at entry points on the Namibian side and may not apply to the Angolan authorities, she said.

She further said those requiring permits can apply for them at the Directorate of Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services at Omafo, Ongwediva and Outapi.

Other requirements by the ministry are that mahangu grains and beans imported into Namibia should be from new grain harvests, free from pests and diseases including debris, free from soils, and subject to physical inspection at the point of entry.

President Mbumba on Monday declared a state of emergency due to the drought, as published in the Government Gazzette.

This is amid the prevalence of drought conditions in all 14 regions countrywide, the negative impact of the drought on the population and the threat it poses to households.

Office of the Prime Minister spokesperson Rhingo Mutambo in a media statement yesterday said the declaration also seeks additional resources to complement the government’s budget of N$825 million for the drought relief programme.

Mutambo further said the government calls on Namibians to prioritise the provision of the assistance to the most needy through the executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister for better coordination.

Erginus Endjala


Omusati governor Erginus Endjala said the president’s pronouncement will help avert hunger and make it easy for those with relatives in Angola to get food.

Ohangwena governor Sebastian Ndeitunga said the president’s declaration is long overdue.

“This is a relief to many. The harvests in the region are poor.”

Ndeitunga said existing procedures at the borders should be strengthened to avoid chaos.

“The two countries need to indulge in strategies on how to handle the situation.”

Police inspector general Joseph Shikongo said it is not the police’s mandate to deal with the import of goods, but rather the Namibia Revenue Agency (Namra).

Shikongo said the police are responsible for maintaining security at the borders and those who cross through ungazetted entry points are advised to go through the gazetted border posts.

He further said the security cluster of Namra, immigration and the police are always working together.

“What we need to do as a security cluster is we must just work together and find ways of how we can deal with the current situation.”

Shikongo said for those complaining that their mahangu is confiscated at the Onhuno roadblock and any other checkpoints, it is the police’s duty to check what passes through their control checkpoints.

“Should we find anything without papers, we always try to verify its origin. It is imperative that people must just work with us when we question them.

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