The struggle by the Orange River Irrigation Project (Orip) small-scale farmers to provide for their families continues as debt eats into incomes earned from their produce.

About 60% of every farmer’s profit goes to pay a N$7 million debt they collectively owe the Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev), which they incurred during the 2015/16 production season.

In addition, 20% of every farmer’s profit goes to paying off a debt of N$1,5 million to Agribank.

This means they are only left with about 20% of proceeds from their produce.

These figures were revealed at a meeting Agribusdev convened with the farmers last Thursday at Aussenkehr to share information about profits they had earned for the past production season.

Figures show farmers earned N$1,5 million from their grapes, and received N$624 715 for dates.

It was also revealed that they exported 15 376 boxes of grapes, weighing 4,5kg each, during the 2017 production season, compared to just 5 506 the previous year. –