Dwindling support for Omaheke Trade Fair

20 Oct 2014 15:51pm
GOBABIS, 20 OCT (NAMPA) - The Omaheke Trade Fair still needs to be promoted better to increase its popularity amongst sponsors.
Fair chairperson Pio Nganate has pinned the dwindling financial support on the unwillingness of many established white businesspeople to support the initiative.
Nganate told Nampa on Monday that despite the fact that many of the businesses at Gobabis – the Omaheke Region's main economic centre - are driven by the patronage of mainly black community members, business owners are still reluctant to financially support the trade fair.
He thus urged the entire business community at Gobabis, regardless of colour, to throw their weight behind this fair.
“The trade fair is a vital tool through which the regional leadership aims to tackle the developmental challenges facing the region.
When you look at who buys these Isuzu and Toyota pick-up vehicles the most, you will find that it is the black community.
It is the civil servants, the farmers and so on. But we are yet to see Toyota or Isuzu Delta exhibiting at the Omaheke Trade Fair.
Instead, they exhibit at the Gobabis Show. We need to change this situation, and have businesspeople assisting this region to get out of poverty”, Nganate stressed.
This year's trade fair was held from 20 to 27 September.
The absence of a main sponsor for the event, and turning the Legare Sports Stadium into trade fair ground had presented challenges in the past, especially during the maiden version of the event.
“We are still faced with challenges, but challenges are everywhere.
We just need to work on how best we’re going to tackle the challenges we face currently. But that does not mean that the fair will cease to exist”, stated Nganate.
Originally billed as a unification platform for all trade and agricultural shows, the third Omaheke Trade Fair was held in a much more favourable environment, compared to the previous two editions which were beset with mainly logistical challenges.
It was, however, still hosted for the third time without the support of the Gobabis Show Society (GSS), which pulled out of the trade event at the 11th hour in 2012.
The GSS cited irreconcilable differences, the apparent slow pace of progress on the side of the Omaheke Trade Fair, and a lack of funds to drive the initiative as grounds for its withdrawal then.
It also emerged that many of the white commercial farmers in the region did not buy into the idea of the trade fair, but rather preferred the annual agricultural show hosted by the Gobabis Show Society, which they have been participating in since its inception close to 50 years ago. 
Most of the farmers’ cooperatives and farmers' unions, nonetheless, chose to support the Omaheke Trade Fair.
The Office of Governor Festus Ueitele had stood by the initiative to host the trade event - which it described as a success - during its maiden showing in September 2012.