Hailing from the Etunda Green Scheme project where he produced a small harvest of black eyed beans, Israel was helped last year by FabLab, a manufacturing, prototyping and design lab in Windhoek, to prepare a small number of his canned beans. This enabled him to develop a trademark and do proper branding.
So far he has managed to source another ingredient, marula oil, from the closely located Eudafano Womens Cooperative based in the town of Ondangwa to scale up production. The cooperative also supplies other manufacturers with the oil.
“A lot of people have approached me such as the Ministry of Education’s school feeding programme” he said, hoping to take on such opportunities in the future by being able to manufacture 10,000 cans per day.
Putting the numbers into perspective, he said “A medium sized canning machine produces 300 cans from eighteen 50 kg sacks of black eyed beans.”
Israel approached a fishing company to possibly help with the canning of his trademark Oma product branded as Oshigali, the Oshiwambo word for the dish. In the meantime an open plot is waiting to become what he plans to be a factory producing around 300 cans a day. “The machine is similar to the one used in making the first product at FabLab” he said. Fablab had also put him through a four-month course in packaging.
Israel intends to source the beans from local farmers once he has secured funding for his start-up on the vacant plot 10km north of Oshakati on the road to Okahao.
Israel said the idea of canned beans came to him after receiving support from the Namibia Business Innovation Centre through its Innovation Competition. “Looking back at it I was really doing my bit on the talk of Growth at Home.” His ultimate aim is to contribute to rural industrialisation by scaling up his canning factory and to get Green Scheme producers to grow large quantities of beans.