Vendors in despair

18 July 2019 | Agriculture

Mahangu flour vendors operating at various open markets in Rundu are struggling to pay back loans they took to purchase unprocessed grain from farmers, because their customers have turned to supermarkets that sell at lower prices.

The vendors say they are heavily in debt and sales are taking place at a snail's pace.

The vendors are severely affected by the current drought, which has also affected thousands of subsistence farmers around the country.

They vendors said a 50-kilogram bag of mahangu grain used to cost them N$350 last year, but this year it is being sold by farmers for N$500.

Kavango East is described by many as a potential food basket for Namibia, while at the same time it also one of the poorest regions, where the majority of inhabitants are subjected to abject poverty.

Kavango East governor Samuel Mbambo revealed recently during his State of the Region Address (Sora) that 60% of the youth in the region are unemployed.

Namibian Sun interviewed 12 women vendors this week, who shared how their mahangu flour businesses are affected by the fact that they have to compete against well-established supermarkets.

“We are unable to pay back the money we borrowed in order to buy stock and the little we get we have to use it and pay for necessities for our children at boarding schools and tertiary institutions, and also for food at home,” the group of women at the Rundu open market said.

For some, this has been their means of survival for the past 20 years. The women, who preferred anonymity, explained they charge N$250 for a 10-kilogram bag of mahangu flour, while in certain supermarkets the same product costs around N$160. This was confirmed during visits to supermarkets at the town. “Business is not going well. We hardly sell anything here. Look at the time, its 12:00, and that lady who just bought mahangu was the first one to buy from us for the day. Things are not well, because people are buying from the shops, where it is cheaper,” one of the vendors explained. The vendors said retailers have entered into agreements with farmers in the area, who supply them directly.

The farmers who sell the mahangu flour to the shops are the same ones selling grain to the vendors, who then have it pounded and sell the end-product.

They vendors said buying 50kg bag of mahangu grain for N$500 this year is “unacceptable”, but they do not have a choice.

“The demand for mahangu grain has increased and it is affecting our business, the only thing we could do was to also increase our prices, in order to make a profit,” they said.

Some young vendors, who are selling on behalf of others, said they are paid based on what they sell, and because of the poor mahangu sales they are not guaranteed a salary at the end of the month.

There is now scramble for every potential customer who enters the market. There are many mahangu vendors at the Rundu open market, as well as the Sauyemwa and Tandaveka markets. “If you do not sell anything for the month or just a mere N$300, your boss will give you nothing at the end of the day. That is why we have to try by all means to convince customers to buy from us,” the vendors said.


Similar News


Illegal grazing spree

4 days ago - 15 August 2019 | Agriculture

Uukwangali Traditional Authority chairperson of Christian Simuketa says over 2 000 cattle are grazing illegally in their area of jurisdiction.He was elaborating on illegal cattle...

Govt urged to act on farmworkers

4 days ago - 15 August 2019 | Agriculture

Land rights activist Karl Mudani ||Aribeb has urged government to introduce a special dispensation for farmworkers affected by resettlement in all regions of the country.Such...

Agriculture centre in limbo

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

The new Agricultural Technology Centre (ATC) at Ongwediva, built at a cost of N$73 million, is in limbo as the agriculture ministry is not sure...

FMD outbreak in Zambezi

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

The movement of all cloven-hoofed animals and their products within, into and out of the Zambezi Region has been banned after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth...

MPs get mixed reports on logging

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

The parliamentary standing committee on the management of natural resources will table its recommendations in parliament after concluding its investigation into commercial timber harvesting in...

Biomass expo biggest yet

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT The Biomass Technology Expo (BTE) which was held on Friday at the Otjiwa Lodge near Otjiwarongo turned out to be biggest biomass day...

'Daan Viljoen is ours'

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

An ancestral land claim submission for the |Khomanîn traditional communities by Karl Mudani ||Aribeb lays claim to the Daan Viljoen settlement and the city of...

Endiki lyOngwediva ART inali tameka iilonga

5 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Agriculture

Endiki epe lya tungwa koshimaliwa shoomiliyona 73 lyoAgricultural Technology Centre (ART) mOngwediva olya thikama owala sho uuministeli wuunamapya inawu yelelwa ngele nawu gandje tuu endiki...

'We have no other home'

1 week ago - 09 August 2019 | Agriculture

The poverty level at Dordabis knows no boundaries; it is here that man and animal drink from the same waterhole and share the same living...

Give communal land to communities

1 week ago - 09 August 2019 | Agriculture

Swanu has recommended that the Namibian government give up its ownership of communal land in favour of the traditional communities legally occupying the land. The...

Latest News

Kärcher Centre Taurus opens its...

23 hours ago | Business

Windhoekers have been in for a treat since the past Saturday when the first fully fledged Kärcher Centre in Southern Africa outside of South Africa...

Defence spends half a billion...

23 hours ago | Economics

The ministry of defence spent about N$491.7 million for three consecutive financial years without the approval of Treasury.This is in direct contravention of the State...

Daily grind

23 hours ago | Labour

Even though most of Namibia's more than 72 000 domestic workers earn above the minimum N$1 502 a month, close to 80% of them say...

Corpses rot in homes

23 hours ago | Health

Unregistered deaths, including infant mortalities, and corpses being left to rot in homes over weekends, are just some of the challenges being faced by the...

Young mom hacked to death

23 hours ago | Crime

A 23-year-old woman was brutally murdered this past Friday in Kavango West, allegedly by her long-time boyfriend, who hacked her to death with an axe...

It was tough - Tomas

23 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Namibian long-distance runners Rainhold Tomas and Alina Armas are the winners of the 19th edition of the Old Mutual Victory Race in the...

Uganda, Zambia deny Huawei spying...

23 hours ago | Business

Kampala - Uganda and Zambia on Friday denied a report that employees of Chinese telecom giant Huawei had helped them spy on political opponents.The Wall...

Vetkoek court fight postponed

23 hours ago | Business

Yanna Smith - The High Court matter in which Namib Mills has sued Bokomo Namibia for “dishonest practises in industrial or commercial matters” was postponed...

Import VAT exemption on certain...

23 hours ago | Business

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) approached the department of inland revenue to exempt certain animal feed products by Namibian farmers from import value-added tax (VAT)....

Load More