Industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu has commended local retailers for accommodating local produce on their shelves and thus contributing to the Buy Local, Grow Namibia initiative.
Last week, Iipumbu took to visiting retail outlets, which included Food Lover’s Market, Pick n Pay, Spar, Woolworths, Shoprite Checkers, and Agra to see what they were doing in support of the campaign.
“Indeed, the tour was also an eye-opener to the potential that Namibians have to produce local and as well as to access markets, both locally as well as regionally and internationally. Plans are at an advanced stage to start exporting some of these,” explained Iipumbu in a ministerial statement in the National Assembly this week.
On 1 October, the ministry of industrialisation launched the initiative meant to drive the country one step further on the route to bolster local production, while at the same time striving to strengthen the domestic economy.
According to her the aim of the initiative is a call on all Namibians to buy locally to grow Namibia by purchasing local products first.
“We also call on you to at least ensure that in your shopping basket there should be Namibian-made products. This will in turn help Namibian businesses promote their products and services and encourage Namibians to support their community by shopping locally,” urged the minister.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought untold difficulties and uncertainty resulting in severe social and economic hardships. It has created an existential crisis for not only Namibia but across the world, including locally owned businesses, which are the backbone of the nation’s economy.
Iipumbu said the ministry is mostly regarded as the centralised point for all resources being offered to businesses by different levels of government as well as local and regional support organisations. She said the ministry has called on its agencies to drive the revival of the local economy through which the concept of Buy Local, Grow Namibia came to be.
Furthermore, she stressed that they have done extensive work during the pandemic to strengthen the productive capacity of local manufacturers and other businesses. Among others, the ministry has made available the standards and specifications for the manufacturing of face masks and sanitisers, including working with local small and medium enterprise (SME) manufacturers to produce public face masks, provision of relief grants to SMEs, and hygiene kits to informal traders.
Iipumbu said that last month her ministry acquired modern 3D printers to be set up at FabLab at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). “The training of the operators of these machines is ongoing after which we will start the manufacturing of medical masks locally in collaboration with stakeholders.”
The ministry is further collaborating with the City of Windhoek to upgrade informal traders’ facilities and infrastructure for ease of adherence to Covid-19 pandemic regulations.
The Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign recognises the crucial role SMEs, women-owned businesses and local businesses in general play in creating jobs, strengthening community cohesion and building a long-lasting culture of local first, which helps local entrepreneurs thrive. The initiative is crucially engineered to help local SMEs access retail space.
“We are currently working on the second phase of this initiative which will entail a call out to all SMEs that are looking into accessing retail space. The initiative will be a working workshop with retailers as well as the Namibia Standards Institution to help SMEs understand what it takes to have their products shelved in key retail stores,” stated the minister.