NAMIBIA – Namibian food processing company, VNA Foods has inaugurated its production facility in Windhoek which will produce an instant soup made of spinach dubbed ‘Omboga’.

With the launch of the facility, Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) celebrates the culmination of its support to 2018 Innovation Award winner who bagged N$1 million (US$67K).

Other than the cash-prize, DBN has provided an extensive range of support activities to the company, including recipe development, testing and refinement as well as barcode acquisition to enable the company to gain shelf space in local retailers.

VNA also received grant funding which enabled it to begin operation.

Talking about the company, Valde Leonard of VNA said the company has identified the commercial value of Namibian cuisine.

VNA is set to embark on a contract harvesting/supply program with local Namibians and will focus on growing its product line in the short-term.

Speaking at the launch of the production facility, DBN Head of Business Strategy, Heike Scholtz, said, “The Bank views innovation as a set of transformative activities which can take place in various sectors.”

She pointed to utilization of local resources and developing efficiency and economies of scale as particularly important.

Coupled with innovation, Namibia will become less dependent on imports and potentially create a basis for export trade.

She urged local distributors and retailers to add the product to their selection and promote it saying that the wholesale and retail sector can only become fully sustainable if it incorporates Namibian products in its offerings.

To further promote product ownership and identification of Namibian products globally, the Namibian Trade Forum (NTF) has gathered 242 signatures from local manufacturers who want to have their own serial or code number.

Namibian local products that are currently on retailers’ shelves are identified as South African as they carry the country’s barcode as Namibia lacks the institutional framework to issue its own.

A barcode has been identified as one of the minimum entry barriers of locally manufactured products in local retailers.

The codes are used in retail stores at the purchase process, in warehouses to keep track of stock and on invoices for bookkeeping purposes.

The collective application was submitted to the Geneva-based Global Standard One (GS1) in March this year and will be reviewed in November.

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