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    It might be news to some, but Namibia is able to grow about 30 percent of its potato requirement.

    Six years ago, Namibia used to produce only five percent of the potatoes consumed locally. About 70 percent of potatoes are still sourced and imported from South Africa.

    According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Agronomic Board of Namibia, Christof Brock, only 200 hectares of potatoes are currently under irrigation with the potential to put a further 600 hectares under irrigation.

    He said Namibia has the potential to produce potatoes throughout the year, due to its varying climatic conditions in different areas.

    In regions, such as Omusati and Kavango, potatoes can be harvested from April to September, while the time-frame varies in other areas.

    Big potato farmers can be found in the Hochveld area of the Otjozondjupa Region, while others can be found in the Caprivi and Hardap regions as well.

    This information was revealed at the Potato Information Day at Tsumeb in the Oshikoto Region yesterday.

    According to Johan le Riche, a farmer in the Kavango Region, the day was organised to inform farmers about the possibilities of producing potatoes in the country.

    "We have to start producing more potatoes for our own consumption, as only 200 hectares are under irrigation,"Le Riche said.

    He, however, noted that potato production is a very expensive and a high-risk undertaking, as the input costs per hectare can amount to N$100000.

    Le Riche said there are very few potato producers and those who have the knowledge do not share it with others, hence such information days are essential.

    The information session was attended by potato farmers and potential farmers, as well as experts and experienced established potato farmers from South Africa, who shared their experience with the Namibian farmers.

    About 50 farmers attended the event, which was organised by Cape Agri Namibia.