RUNDU - A Kaisosi woman, Maria Lumbala, says women as mothers have a huge responsibility of taking care of their families, thus they should find ways to feed such families.
She said women should not just sit idle crying for employment, which is not easy to get as even some educated people are not employed.
Lumbala, who is also a mother of two, has for the past 35 years built up her farming skills as it has been the only way she brings food to the table.
The 49-year-old horticulture queen farms on one hectare, where she plants her cabbages, tomatoes, onions and carrots among others.
Her garden is at the Salem Cooperative Project about seven kilometres east of Rundu at Uvhungu-Vhungu village in the Kavango East region. The project has been in existence since the early 80s. Most of the work at the Salem project is done manually.
“The drive to feed my family has made me to never give up. As a woman, I strive to make ends meet, you know as women we have a huge responsibility of taking care of our families and we cannot do that by just sitting at home,” she said.
Lumbala farms at the project with about 37 women and five men who farm on different hectares that they have shared among themselves.
Street vendors buy from these farmers to sell on Rundu’s streets.
“We don’t go out into the streets, I took over from my father who used to cultivate here and I continued till today. Since I started in 1986, I come here every morning to work because this is my livelihood. It’s the only way I make a living and through this, I take care of my children, siblings and relatives,” she said.
Lumbala told New Era that street vendors support them, as the fresh produce looks nice, healthy and sold at a fair price.
“Once they hear that producers are going to sell cabbages or onions tomorrow, they will come in numbers and buy from all of us here at Salem, they don’t discriminate,” she said.
Lumbala urged fellow Namibian women to strive to make ends meet.
“If you are unemployed and you don’t have a piece of land to cultivate crops, go buy from those who have and go and sell, buy things from shops like bread to sell or fish, you fry them or bake fat cakes or cook meals to sell, that way you are doing something for your family rather than depending on men, ensure that your children and yourself don’t go to bed hungry,” she motivated.
Lumbala noted young people, especially young women, should not just sit idle because opportunities will also sit idle.
On Tuesday last week, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba launched the second phase of the Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign in Rundu.
The campaign is an initiative by the ministry of industrialisation and the Namibia Trade Forum to promote the culture of buying local products as a means to support local producers and to increase shelf space in retail outlets for locally manufactured goods. This initiative is aiming to get fresh produce that is produced locally just like at the Salem project as well as other projects to hit the store shelves.
Mbumba, during the launch, stated that the country needs a society that supports local products and consumes local products while the entrepreneurs should be committed to delivering quality products and services as well as work to ensure that bottlenecks are removed.
“The impact derived from producing and buying local products, and services on the economy cannot be overemphasised. It is a step towards achieving the economic emancipation of our country and its people,” he said.
Mbumba added that the campaign will not only stimulate the local economy but will also create employment for Namibians as small and medium enterprises are then capacitated to understand the various requirements for local market access.
“The benefits resultant from buying local, which these efforts are meant to forge, means consumers will help stimulate their regional economy, create and retain valuable jobs, support families and strengthen communities and preserve culture,” he said.