Tuppence a bag of cabbages

Pick n Pay Managing Director, Norbert Wurm (left) and Ohlthaver & List Group CEO, Peter Grüttemeyer with the impressive cabbages grown on Farm Otavifontein Farm. These cabbages are available at all Pick n Pay stores countrywide.

A combined harvester offloads its grain bin onto a transporter truck to shift maize from Otavifontein farm to the storage facility. Otavifontein is part of Ohlthave & List’s venture in agriculture to send Namibian produce through its extensive retail network. Otavifontien has sold its first successful harvest of maize in the local market. The farm also grows vegetables as a joint initiative by Pick n Pay Namibia and Natural Value Foods Namibia.

It can only happen in Namibia. A retailing chain has started growing its own vegetables to promote local production and to pioneer the value chain from farmland to shelf. While a limited volume of fresh produce is grown locally, these have so far been limited to farmers at Hardap and Stampriet, and a few development projects in the Kavango and Zambezi.

Ohlthave & List’s Farm Otavifontein comprises 2700 hectares of arable land which includes irrigation pivots as well as dryland crops and farmland. Currently spinach, cabbage, barley and oats are the vegetables grown for commercial purposes. This is a venture by Pick n Pay Namibia in collaboration with Natural Value Foods Namibia. All vegetables grown at this farm will be available on all Pick n Pay shelves countrywide.
Last week, the Ohlthaver & List Group announced the commitment Pick n Pay Namibia, a subsidiary, has made to sell locally grown vegetables and other Namibian products in its stores countrywide.
“Pick n Pay has, in partnership with Natural Value Foods embarked on a journey in support of the government’s Growth at Home strategy. The Otavifontein farm has been part of the O&L Group for many years and has in part been leased from the group by Pick n Pay, in collaboration with Natural Value Foods Namibia – a joint venture between Pick n Pay Namibia and Natural Value Foods South Africa. Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, barley and oats are currently being grown at the farm” said Pick n Pay.
Pick n Pay Brand Manager, Victoria Forbes said the future looks great for the farming of vegetables at this specific farm, adding “the farm has already shown its first harvest of maize that was sold on the market.” The first cabbages that were harvested last week have proven to be a record breaking success judging by the product size. These record-sized cabbages have already been distributed to the Pick n Pay stores, and are selling at very affordable prices, compared to immediate competitors.”
Managing Director of Pick n Pay Namibia, Norbert Wurm also shared his excitement on this venture believing that not only will this provide for more affordable vegetables to Namibians, but it will contribute to better access to healthier living. He said “This initiative and agreement with Natural Value Foods Namibia was entered into last year to bring life back to the farm that was lying idle at Otavifontein. We identified that there is a need to grow more products and create more value, locally.”
Meanwhile, the Pick n Pay MSME support programme creates another platform aimed at contributing to better livelihoods for Namibians, in particular better success stories for local entrepreneurs.
“Pick n Pay Namibia will share its success in the business arena by facilitating opportunities for others in business; supporting growth in the micro, small & medium enterprise (MSME) sector, and contributing to the cultivation of an enterprise culture in our country,” said Forbes.
The Pick n Pay MSME programme was officially introduced at the 2015 Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair, after which a database of potential providers of goods and services have been started.
“The O&L Group invites focused and success-driven MSMEs to become part of an exciting entrepreneurial initiative. Be sure that you are registered and comply with all legal and industry related regulations. The business must be available for inspection to ensure health & safety compliance. If the business provides that of food products, food safety audit requirements must be fulfilled, and products and product ingredients must be traceable. Other requirements include that packaging, labelling and barcoding must comply with Pick n Pay standards, and delivery, logistics and distribution must be proven” the Group announced.
Wurm stressed that this is a life-changing opportunity for local suppliers, saying “Pick n Pay Namibia expects all MSME programme participants to be serious about growing their business and motivated to hone their skills. Please note that Pick n Pay Namibia’s MSME programme is not a funding or loan scheme. Applicants will have to secure funding elsewhere. This programme will however be a solid support system to get your business to the next level.”