Namibia produces about 40% of the food it consumes, and is highly dependent on imports. So, when the countries it imports from decide to close their borders to conserve the food they produce for their own citizens for whatever reason, including the ongoing Covid-19 threats, Namibia’s food security will be at terrible risk.
Food security means everyone should have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
The threat of food supply disruptions due to Covid-19 implications motivated Aluvilu Collen to venture into producing marula syrup.
Although not an essential food, he said there is potential with this product because there is more attached to this – job creation, food security, self-sustainability and increasing GDP per capita.
Collen told Youth Corner the scope is large when it comes to producing food.
“We need to come up with more ideas and means to produce our food so that we can sell it locally, and export it to other countries. Namibia is capable of that,” he enthused.
The accounting student at the Namibia University of Science and Technology said the idea of producing syrup started in 2021, and that’s when the operations kicked off as well.
“We get the marula fruit from the northern parts of the country and sell the syrup here at Lafrenz (industrial area in Windhoek). We have a special price for people who would like to be distributors of the product, which means once a person buys in bulk, we will be able to give a discount,” stated the 20-year-old entrepreneur.
Collen said he started this venture during a difficult time, not only to benefit himself, but the entire country and world at large.
“I started with this during the uncertain times of Covid-19. I went to the streets of Monte Cristo, and sold about 1 500 sanitisers to taxi drivers and individuals on the streets, including house to house”
“So, I thought to myself, if I can sell sanitisers, people will be aware of me and what I do. I generated a little income from there and through the gap that I saw in the market regarding the syrup, I decided to venture into this.”
Collen added that another motivation to push the syrup is to be financially independent, stating: “Money is everything. You cannot go to school without money, and you cannot navigate this world without money”.
He has partnered with local entrepreneur Michael Amushelelo and other individuals to manufacture and market the syrup.
Taking to social media recently on this development, Amushelelo highlighted the importance and benefits of producing food, saying: “This is what we mean by economic emancipation, producing our products. We have so far managed to create about 15 jobs, and our idea is to create more jobs as the demand for our product grows”.