Vice President Nangolo Mbumba launched the second phase of the Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign in Rundu on Tuesday.
The campaign is an initiative by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade 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.
Mbumba said the country needs a society that supports local products and consumes local merchandise 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 stated.
Mbumba added that the campaign will stimulate the local economy and 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 observed.
The launch was attended by local businesspeople in Rundu and beyond who were also trained on the standards enforced by the Namibia Standards Institute, barcode acquisition, financing options as well as the requirements from retailers such as Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay to enable producers to have market access.
In addition, the Vice President was not happy with the dominance of foreign imports on local shelves, while referring to challenges such as quality standards and distribution channels faced by the local market. He believes that the second phase of the campaign will address these issues.
The head of buyers at Shoprite Namibia, Patricia Hangula, indicated at the launch that they are willing to assist local businesses to place their products on Shoprite’s shelves.
“So, it’s quite easy. Basically, there are three steps to the process. Number one, make contact with us. Show us your product. Our team of buyers will then make a decision to say yes, it fits our mandate. Our mandate could be, it is creative, it meets market demand, it’s packaged properly, it is barcoded, and it is tested,” Hangula said.
Mbumba also undertook a visit to Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay shops in Rundu to familiarise himself with local products on the retailers’ shelves as part of the campaign.