OTJIJARUA – The annual Otjimati Mini Show last weekend in the village of Otjimati in the Epukiro Constituency just came at the right time for small-scale cash crop producer, Godfriedine Ngupahua.
Ngupahua was before the show at a loss how she could dispose of the massive harvest of about 300 pumpkins this season. But at the show last Saturday she managed to sell all the 30 pumpkins. It was also a matter of wonders that she in the first place could take the pumpkins to the show only about 30 km from her village of Otjijarua because of lack of transport. That is why she only took 30 of them and when the sold like hotcakes, she could not go back to her village and get more, which by the demand shown at the show definitely could have sold.
Lack of marketing underlines but only one of the many challenges Ngupahua has been facing as a small-scale cash crop producer. The other being a sprinkling system having hitherto, until she acquired only a few sprinklers recently, had to do it manually. Hence her appeal for those who may be able to help modernise her still infant backyard garden, with the much-needed sprinklers to help her boost production. In view of the rain that these years have become a rarity, Ngupahua has been compelled to rely on irrigation, hence the need for sprinklers. But this is only for crops requiring sprinkling while others need underground watering for which she also need an irrigation system and the necessary equipment.
But if she had a proper marketing avenue for her produce, the situation could markedly improve that she could become self-reliant to the extent of even affording some irrigation equipment and piped water as well as equipment to help with the necessary water pressure to make irrigation and sprinkling effective. Currently she has been pinning her hope on the constituency councillor, and perhaps the local agricultural extension office whose officers have as yet to familiarise themselves with her project, to see in which way they could help. But as they say charity begins at home but not so in the case of her community that has been buying her produce only sporadically.
This is despite the fact the village of Otjijarua is one of the relatively densely populated villages. Not to mention that the village also have a school that she could also supply with her produce which include sweet potatoes, maize, onions. As well as other schools in the constituency. But for this to become a reality, Ngupahua surely needs to up her game in terms of production which can only happen when she acquire the necessary equipment to properly jump start her production and eventually stabilise to have any hope of landing tenders with the schools in the area.
For now her only market has been for once in a while when the village is hosting functions for senior citizens, during which it provides them with meals. Other than that she has been compelled to use her produce for own domestic consumption. But can it be prudent to use 300 or so pumpkins just for own use? If only villagers could realise the nutritional value of her produce than surely this could also help with marketing.