Omaheke Trade Fair 2017 called off

31 Aug 2017 14:00pm
GOBABIS, 31 AUG (NAMPA) - The annual Omaheke Trade Fair (OTF) that has over the years served as a trade and networking platform, particularly for small and medium enterprises, will not take place this year.
Pio Nganate, the Special Advisor to the Omaheke governor who doubles as OTF chairperson, told Nampa on Thursday the event has been called off for 2017.
Nganate said the costs associated with hosting the event, most of which comes from the Omaheke Governor's Office, has become too much of a burden.
“We have decided to put the staging of this year's Omaheke Trade Fair on hold so that we can find other ways of covering the exorbitant costs associated with it,” he said.
Prominent amongst the costs, he explained, is associated with converting the Legare Stadium at the town into a trade fair venue.
Those costs, coupled with a high bill for utilities such as water and electricity and other logistics, accumulate to about N.dollars 500 000 that the governor’s office cannot recoup from the rent of stalls and takings from the gates.
“The costs are just too high at the moment and it makes little economic sense to keep hosting the event, as we are made to rely heavily on sponsors,” said Nganate.
The OTF was since 2012 initially billed as a unification platform for all trade and agricultural shows in the region.
It was originally to be hosted at the local show grounds, managed by the Gobabis Show Society, but since the OTF runs concurrently with the Gobabis Agricultural Show, the show grounds are unavailable.
It also emerged over time that many commercial farmers in the region did not buy into the OTF and preferred their own show that had been running for the past 50 years.
The OTF nonetheless took off in 2012 and has been hosted every year since then.
Nganate said the OTF is expected back next year, with a fresh and more economically viable outlook.
“This is not the end of the trade fair; we will be back next year and have an even bigger event. We just need this time to focus on how we can make the event even bigger,” he said.