By William J. Mbangula ONDANGWA A sum of around N$80 000 was contributed in cash and kind during the official launch of the Ondangwa Trade Fair by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Dr Nickey Iyambo last Saturday. Addressing the business community, church leaders, traditional leaders, farmers, and regional and local councillors who attended the event, Iyambo commended those who conceived the idea of a trade fair for Ondangwa and encouraged them to continue and show the way for others to follow. The people in the north may not have the mineral resources found in other parts of the country, he said, but they have cattle that they could use for their own survival and for the development of their towns. It is estimated there are 1,7 million cattle in the northern regions compared to 700 000 in the commercial areas further south .Out of the1,7 million cattle, only 3 percent is slaughtered for trade purposes. Besides, they have omahangu, a commercialised commodity that could still provide a livelihood to the people and the means for economic development for the local population. He cited the examples of how towns such as Rehoboth, Mariental, Keetmanshoop and many others in the south were developed because of the proper utilisation of locally based resources such as the karakulsheep skins. If such local resources were utilised for the benefit and development of the said towns, the minister noted, why can’t the people with a lot of cattle and omahangu not use them likewise for their own development. “I have learned through a report from the Bank of Namibia recently that more money is generated from here than in the rest of the country. And I am also told that small business people currently employ more than 3 000 people. This means that if you have the buying power which can be more than the rest of the country, you have the potential to succeed with your trade fair as well,” said Iyambo who contributed N$1 000. With regard to animal husbandry, Iyambo noted that the Government is spending N$7 million every year for the vaccination of cattle with the long-term goals of ensuring cattle breeders access into the outside meat market. Already plans are underway to select two places of the northern regions, which will have to be quarantined from where meat can be exported by next year to Europe. Speaking at the same event, which was being directed by the NCCI Northern Branch Chairperson Phillip Amwele, the Governor of Oshana Clemens Kashuupulwa commended the brain behind the idea of the Ondangwa Trade Fair as well as all the organisers and stakeholders in the event. “The Oshana Regional Council sees a trade fair as an opportunity of gaining diverse information and exposure from both local and foreign exhibitors, and an opportunity to interact in partnership with manufacturing companies to invest in the country in joint ventures with Namibians. It is an opportunity which needs to be grabbed and properly utilised by members of the NCCI in order to acquire new technologies and ideas for their business markets,” said the Governor. He encouraged Namibians to use the trade fair as an opportunity to set up manufacturing industries using existing local untapped resources to produce Namibian products for export. Manufacturing of goods, he pointed out, is important to Namibia for the purposes of job creation, poverty reduction, economic growth and export income earnings. The governor, who contributed N$2 000 to the fair on behalf of the Oshana Regional Council, called upon small and medium entrepreneurships to be prepared for the Ondangwa Trade Fair as a challenge of a business undertaking, which needs to be utilised for better business exposure and contact. Another contribution of N$ 1000 was made in absentia by Prime Minister Nahas Angula. Present at the launch and having booked their seats in advance at the 23 tables which were available were individuals and companies such as MVA, Nored, GIPF, Eudafano Women Co-operative, Lithon Project Consultants, Mesto Welders, Consulting Services Africa, Nicodemus Architectural Design, Hpk, NPC, Eskom Truck and Trailers, Ouno Shell Service Station, Oshana Pharmacy, Global Material Testing Services, Pupkewitz Megabuild, Eenhana Town Council, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Nexus Civil Engineering, FNB, Ondangwa Town Lodge, NamPower and NamPort. The trade fair, which will run from April 26 – 30 at Eudafano Women Co-operative near Ondangwa Airport will be officially opened by the Minister of Trade and Industry Immanuel Ngatjizeko on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba on April 28. The event is expected to boost the local economy of one of the oldest towns in the Oshana Region and the most strategically located, being the gateway to Oshikango, Oshakati and Tsumeb through using the main highway.
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