Magano Rainhold is a young graduate from Oshakati. When she graduated in 2017 in telecommunications engineering at Triumphant College she thought life would be easier.
She, however, struggled to find a job. Very soon enough, she came to the conclusion that staying home won’t pay her bills and that she needed to to start off with something that would bring her an income.
Rainhold says her friend introduced her to selling fruits and vegetables.
“I started buying from fellow vendors at Stop and Shop in Okuryangava, Windhoek. Buying packs for N$ 10 to resell for a profit. At the same time, I contemplated where do people buy their products to sell on the informal market.”
She further said that in 2020, with the money she had saved, she started buying boxes of grapes from Noordoewer in he South 0fmthe country and sending the boxes to Windhoek to her customers.
“Business grew fast and I figured out that buying your own products and supplying to customers is best, rather than someone else supplying you. However, grapes are seasonal. There are times when there are no grapes at all or rather just a few and you can’t supply,” Rainhold tells The Villager.
In 2021 Rainhold moved to Tsumeb to start buying tomatoes, cabbage, onions, green peppers and potatoes from the farms close to the town.
“The problem is there are farms in Namibia where you can buy your products, however, they are very few; hence there are some periods of time when there are not enough tomatoes, and during those specific times, farmers increase prices due to high demand. That is the biggest challenge we face as business owners. This then compels us to also increase our prices,” she says.
Rainhold emphasises that it is important to have more farmers so that products can be cheaper.
“In most cases, when we donot have vegetables in our country and no where to buy them, we are then forced to import them from South Africa, which we buy at low prices. For example, a 10kg pack of onions is N$170 here in Namibia, yet in South Africa we can buy the same for only N$70 dollars. A 10kg potatoes bag can be N$28 dollars only. We only have a problem when it comes to transport and tax that we pay, which is expensive,” she narrates.
Rainhold further says importing from South Africa is not as easy either because, as a business owner, she is unable to do it by herself, but rather needs to team up with others to share import cost.
“However there is a term in Namibia that says support local. “The border can be closed when vegetables are more than enough and we are then forced to buy within our country before we buy from elsewhere in other countries. The problem is we are forced to buy in the country; however, their products are very expensive, so we can’t make a profit,” she says.
“We as the youth of this country need to bear in mind that although you finish your education, but you don’t have a job, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a life. All you have to do is to stand up for yourself, don’t sit at home. Start off with something; start somewhere like others that are trying their best. The problem is that we don’t want to be seen in streets selling vegetables, for instance. I don’t know if it’s shyness we have or what. Let’s start somewhere,” Rainhold says.
Approached for comment, Namibia Agronomy Board’s Auguste Angelika Fabian told The Villager that, “although the NAB’s mandate does not necessarily have an effect on the establishment of farms, as a market facilitator and regulator, we are definitely in support of local production and we want to encourage farmers to upscale their production for the successful implementation of Market Share Promotion Scheme and the attainment of food self sufficiency in Namibia.”