Ondangwa exhibition revamped

By Tirivangani Masawi
June 2011
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Preparations are underway for the annual Ondangwa Business and Trade Fair which will be held in the northern part of the country from June 24 to July 2.

This year’s fair will have a strong emphasis on farming especially cattle ranching and crop production.

This is meant to empower the local farming community with the relevant technical knowhow needed in improving output in this flood ravaged area, according to the fair organisers.

The exhibition is being spearheaded by the Ondangwa Town Council and will focus on improving the farming community operating within Ondangwa and the surrounding areas while creating a platform for networking with other business people from across the country.

Ondangwa Town Council Marketing and Local Development Officer Kandi Iihuhwa says the exhibition will create a platform for networking and growth for local farmers and present perfect opportunities for striking deals with potential future business partners. According to Iihuhwa this business and trade networking fair in one of the fastest developing towns in Namibia will also aim to raise funds to sustain the business and other support systems in the area.

“The specific objective of the fair is to assist the business community in showcasing and marketing their products, attract investors to Ondangwa by maintaining and creating a conducive atmosphere for business to operate in,” says Iihuhwa.

The town council is aiming for a better exhibition this year with improved participation from the local business community.

The week-long event will also see various business people from other regions of the country participating in showcasing their different products while creating avenues for engagement with the northern business community.

Although the exhibition has in the past been a purely business fair, Iihuhwa says most farmers in the country trade their produce raw and do not get maximum benefits from their work and the fair is set to inform them better.

“We will also have other activities like the promotion of Small to Medium Scale Enterprises products, tourism activities, manufacturing and innovative businesses whom we have encouraged to take part.”

Minister of Industry and Trade Dr. Hage Geingob will officially open the fair.

Says Martin Elago, Chief Executive Officer of Ondangwa; “We are trying as much as possible to organise a smooth event with minimum hick-ups. We have learnt our lessons from the problems faced in 2006.”

In 2006, a fall out between the municipality and their former partners, aptly named the Residents Union hampered the organisation of the exhibition resulting in the uncertainity of the fair.

Elago says although this year’s fair will not be too big an event in terms of size, it has all the ingredients of setting the tone for the success of future events.

“This year the fair will be a sole baby of the municipality and we will not partner the community like in previous years,” he says.

The idea to exclude members of the public from the organisation of the fair, was been necessitated by the need to enhance professionalism and guarantee the business community in the town an opportunity to concentrate on exhibiting their products, says Elago.

The Ondangwa Business and Trade Fair will partner with Agra during the exhibition to find ways of benefiting the locals from the farming organisation’s expertise.

“It has not been all rosy for the organising committee as they are also busy doing damage control to have the fair regain its credibility after the criticism in 2006. We believe the agriculture concept we are bringing in and the expertise of Agra, will send a big message to the community.

“We are also trying our level best to have this fair sail through with as little controversy as possible because the problems we experienced in 2006 damaged our reputation. It is also important that this exhibition sets an opportunity to expand not only the fair but the agriculture concept in our area,” says Elago. PF