Abu Dhabi’s Al Dahra Agriculture, which runs a date farm at the Naute Dam in the Karas region of Namibia, has called for the establishment of Namibian consular representation in the UAE, an expedited travel documents process and ideally direct flights to the country.

“For the past four years, the dates from the Naute Dam have been of a high quality, and the grapes harvested in 2012 and 2013 were also of a very high quality,” Khadim Abdulla Aldarei, vice-president of Al Dahra, told the Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA).

“We are very happy with our commercial farming activities in Namibia, and we see great potential for growth in the future,” he said, but noted to Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, that travel to the African country remained a problem.

“We have to travel via South Africa first, and for us to do that, we are forced to pay for both South African and Namibian visas, making it expensive,” explained Aldarei, noting that Al Dahra staff had even rerouted their flights to Windhoek via Frankfurt to avoid the two visas.

At present, it also takes Al Dahra two weeks to prepare the documentation to travel to Namibia, and Aldarei exhorted the minister to use his influence to speed the opening of a consular office in the UAE where travel visas might be processed within a matter of hours.

Finally, Aldarei asked Schlettwein to push for the introduction of direct flights between Namibia and Abu Dhabi, and the minister in turn agreed to encourage Air Namibia officials to “grab this opportunity” and launch direct commercial flights to the UAE as soon possible.

Al Dahra in Namibia works in a joint venture with the Namibian Development Corporation (NDC) and has been cultivating a 200-hectare plot around the Naute Dam area since 2009.

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