• September 20th, 2018
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Making a living from marula nuts

National
National

Josephina Mwashindange Omuthiya-It is this time of the year when the majority of the inhabitants in the northern part of Namibia sit back and rest after a long season of mahangu field work. However, this is not the case with some of the Aawambo women. The northern part of Namibia is mostly surrounded by tall marula trees that produce an amazing amount of marula fruit. These fruits are green and only turn yellow when ripe. Women around villages usually set dates on which they can gather to squeeze marula juice from the marula fruits. The marula juice harvested is left for two to three days to ferment after which it can be consumed as a refreshing beverage known as omagongo. This brew is very popular and it is mostly enjoyed during the rainy season, from March up until May each year. The process does not end with juice squeezing, the fruits are normally set aside for up to five months dry. Once dry they are cracked to remove the omahuku (white kernel). The marula has turned out to be an income generating activity for many community members such as Johanna Sakaria, from Okashana near Omuthiya, who produces a traditional oil commonly known odjove (marula oil) from dried shells of the marula fruit. The oil adds flavour and taste to traditional food such as, chicken, oshingali (crushed beans) and evanda (dried spinach). Sakaria narrated that she makes N$25 per 200 ml bottle and the money she earns is used to cater for their basic needs, kindergarten fees and school stationery. Sakaria also takes care of a family of six and the income generated has helped her to make ends meet while awaiting the social grant she registered for last year in October with the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare. “I cannot sit idly waiting for manna to fall from heaven. I am keeping myself busy with the little I can to support my family.  For instance, from a 12kg bag, I get at least two to three 200 ml bottles of odjove and it takes me a day or two to finish,” he said.   After the whole process of cracking the nuts and removing the kernels, the residue is used as firewood. - Josephina Mwashindange is an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Oshikoto Region
2017-11-01 08:58:27 10 months ago
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