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Home / Crop producers’ fortunes looking up ...organisation to set up retailer for local produce

Crop producers’ fortunes looking up ...organisation to set up retailer for local produce

2021-10-19  Charles Tjatindi

Crop producers’ fortunes looking up ...organisation to set up retailer for local produce
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Namibia will soon have a retailer dedicated to stocking fresh produce from local farmers - most of whom are struggling to sell their products at market prices. This is if the Youth in Agriculture organisation - which describes itself as a vehicle out of poverty for young people - has its way.

 The retailer, to be named Agri-Marketing Enterprises (AME), will source fresh produce directly from farmers and stock them up for resale to the general population.  The organisation also targets cosmetics such as hair products and lotion made from seeds of local plants, while processed foods such as the Marula oil and other similar products will also be shelved by AME.  Ndatulumukwa Haikali, the organisation’s founder and executive director said AME’s formation is aimed at closing the gap between the producers and customers.

 He told Agri-Today that for years, farmers have been struggling to get the best prices for their produce as they end up accepting any price offers to avoid their products from rotting.

 The envisaged retailer, he said, will work towards closing this gap and putting more money in the pockets of the farmers who toil endlessly by tilling the fields to put food on the table.

 “As young people, we saw that there is a gap in the market here that needed to be filled. If producers are battling to get the best prices for their products, then it means they do not have access to the right buyers. This is where we come in by making sure that there is a business that will buy their products at reasonable prices,” he said.  He said the idea is to collect as much variety of fresh produce from farmers across the country as possible, and stock them in AME for resale. The farmers’ produce will be bought at designated pick-up points across the country in the vicinity of their farms, meaning that the farmer would not be required to fork out money to travel.

 As the products will be bought fresh from the farm, freshness and quality will be guaranteed, Haikali said.

 “We will be having trucks that will pass through Ruacana, Outapi, and Oshivelo and eventually reach Windhoek where the retailer will be located. Another truck will come from Katima Mulilo through Rundu and Grootfontein to Windhoek. We will also have trucks from other parts of the country,” he said.

 Such trucks will be stopping at designated pick-up points agreed to by the farmers in the area, load produce and proceed to the next destination, Haikali noted.  He said the retailer is expected to become operational between July and August next year.

“Most of the preparatory work on the project is done. We are now in the final stages where we are scouting for a venue to operate from and also establishing a database of farmers who are interested in selling to us. We want farmers from Kapako, Witvlei, Usakos, Okongo and Mariental to all join and make this venture successful,” he said.  

 Youth in Agriculture was founded in 2020 and had only two members on its database. Currently, the organisation enjoys a membership of 371 members, who share a common vision of promoting local products and becoming their own employers.

 Haikali explained that all members of the organisation would have shareholding rights in the retailer and stand to benefit equally from its activities.

 Stressing the need to create their own employment, Haikali said days, when 08h00 to 17h00 jobs were the only means of income are long gone. With new challenges such as Covid-19 and unpredictable economic situations, it is best to turn to agriculture for a living as the sector keeps giving.

 “You will never go wrong with agriculture. It will not be easy and at times, you might think of giving up, but you have to keep going. That is just a sign that you are getting somewhere,” he said.

2021-10-19  Charles Tjatindi

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