By Wezi Tjaronda
The Ministry of Trade and Industry will through its South African counterpart call for a meeting with South African retail shops doing business in Namibia to encourage them to stock more Namibian made products.
The ministry’s efforts which started last year have so far been limited to local shops with national accounts, namely Pick ‘n Pay, Woermann Brock, Shoprite Group and Spar.
Some of the South African shops trading in Namibia include Pep Stores, Snip, Game, Mr Price Home, Jet Stores, Game and Edgars.
The Ministry and Team Namibia last year embarked on the Buy Made in Namibia Campaign after receiving complaints from local manufacturers about unfair sourcing practices by the said shops.
The Naturally Namibia Logo has been promoted since 2004 after it was endorsed by the Cabinet.
Team Namibia’s Zita Tobin yesterday told New Era that the two institutions have applied a lot of pressure to assist Namibian products gain shelf space in retail outlets.
“We have wonderful Namibian products across all sectors that would be able to benefit from this,” she said. The locally produced goods include candles, cosmetics and beauty products, leather products, pasta, paints, sanitary products, textiles, furniture/ornaments, detergents and medicines.
She said Namibia’s beef was highly competitive globally and so was its beer, dairy products, plastic products, grapes, oysters, fish, salt and others.
“We are confident that Namibia can and does already produce quality products and services which can compete with South African or any other products for that matter,” said Tobin.
Since January this year, 11 new members have joined Team Namibia, of which nine are selling products and the remaining two are from the service industry.
Yet only three of the nine are currently listed at the national accounts including Agra, while the other seven have alternative routes (smaller grocers and other shops), or own their own shops to be able to sell directly to Namibian consumers.
“If there is something that Namibia can be proud of, it is the quality of its products although we only have a few compared to other countries such as South Africa,” she added.
While the Government is doing its part, Tobin said it was incumbent upon consumers to actively make the right choice to buy Namibian when the price and quality is on par with South African brands that compete on the market.
“We all need to apply pressure by asking these shops for Namibian products, it is our responsibility to demand that Namibian products are on the shelf.
“Why buy imported water, when we manufacture our own water? Why buy imported pasta when we manufacture our own pasta locally?” she wondered.
While South African products were on demand, Tobin said Namibians needed to become loyal consumers of Namibian brands.