04 Jun 2019 09:10am
By Petrus Muronga
RUNDU, 04 JUN (NAMPA) Around 100 women selling vegetables around the town of Rundu travel long distances to overnight at the Salem Cooperative Project in order to buy cabbages and other vegetables to sell for a living.
The Salem project is an irrigation initiative for small-scale farmers situated at Uvhungu-Vhungu village in the Kavango East Region about seven kilometres east of Rundu.
The self-employed women flock to the project site as early as 04h00 daily while others overnight there in their quest to buy vegetables they sell on the streets of Rundu and at supermarkets around town.
Some women hire transport to take them to the project while others walk to collect their produce.
One of the women who came from Sauyemwa, said they go to Salem as early as 03h00 in the morning to go camp there in order to buy cabbages to sell to support their families.
She said they have been forced to do so because of the drought that has hit the country, noting that in the past they could sell their own produce which comes from their fields back at their villages.
We are now forced to take drastic measures of overnighting at Salem to buy cabbages as people scramble for the cabbages there, she said.
When this agency visited the site on Monday morning, women were sitting next to piles of cabbage they have gathered in the fields of the project waiting to pay for the items.
A representative of the cooperative, Laurenta Nkandanga confirmed to this agency that people, especially women have lately been flocking there to buy vegetables from them.
Nkandanga said although it is good business for them, they are also faced with challenges such as limited water as the water pump they use to pump water from the river about one kilometre away does not have the capacity to sustain all the producers farming at Salem.
She further said the group once bought a bigger water pump which has been damaged, calling for assistance in this regard to help them survive.
We are just asking any Good Samaritan or the government to meet us halfway in order to help us acquire a bigger pump that can sustain all of us, she pleaded.
About 43 small-scale farmers, mostly women, have been farming through the cooperative on the 34-hectare plot.
The piece of land was donated to be set up as a cooperative by the Sambyu Traditional Authority housing small-scale farmers since 1985.