Agra extends its footprint to the NCAs

Agra extended its footprint in the Northern Communal Areas by opening its 20th retail branch in Rundu on Friday, 29 July 2016. At the official opening event, held a day before the branch launch on Thursday, 28 July 2016, Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry thanked Agra for continuously playing an important role in the agricultural sector. “Today we are celebrating proof that the private sector positively contributes significantly to the growth and development of this country. This development reflects Agra’s confidence, leadership and growth,” he proudly said.

At the opening event, Governor of Kavango East Region, Hon. Dr Samuel Mbambo said that the opening of Agra branch in Rundu is a moment that all the inhabitants of the community have been patiently waiting for. He also informed those in attendance that the region has potential to grow more for the nation as he said, “As you may know, the Kavango regions receive higher rainfall than most other parts of Namibia. We have potential to grow more varieties of crops, more meat products and other agriculture produce. And with the Agra branch opening here in Rundu, it puts us in an advantaged position as we can buy our farming inputs and receive expert advice to improve on our productivity.” Hon. Dr. Mbambo concluded by challenging the Rundu community to join the agriculture sector and play their part. “I would like to challenge all the inhabitants of this region and the surrounding areas to join the agriculture sector. Now is the time for us to produce more and actively participate in the economy. We want our people to play their part towards achieving a self-sufficient nation. The time is now for us to farm sustainably with the limited resources that Mother Nature has provides us with, leading to sustainable livelihoods and improved standards of living.”

Agra’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Arnold Klein expressed his pride in celebrating the first milestone since he took over the reigns as Agra CEO in November 2015. Mr Klein noted that Agra Rundu is the second fully fledged Agra branch in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) of Namibia, following the Oshivelo branch that was inaugurated 4 years ago (3 August 2012). He continued by saying that the Agra Rundu branch was long overdue, as the Hon. Mutorwa already requested Agra to extend its footprint in the NCAs. “At the Oshivelo branch opening and recently at the Agra Hyper @ Lafrenz branch inauguration ceremony in Windhoek, the Hon. Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry requested us to increase our footprint in the Northern Communal Areas by expanding our branch network in the Kavango Region, and more specifically in Rundu. We have listened, analysed the market and we swiftly responded to this call, because the upliftment of agriculture can only be achieved through the provision of sustainable and relevant agriculture support systems and farming inputs.”

The Rundu branch infrastructure is an investment of N$ 16 million, a smart partnership between Agra and a local businessman. Furthermore, Agra has invested close to a million for the working capital (fixed assets) and N$ 5.5 million into the stock of various products. Mr Klein, Agra’s CEO concluded, “This shows Agra’s confidence in investing into the Northern Communal Areas and its endeavours to create opportunities for the Namibian community to benefit from both the availability of products as well as advice and expertise regarding the optimal use of various products.”

Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) provided feedback on the Ministry’s achievement in line with the Namibia Development Plan (NDP) 4. The MAWF together with its stakeholders has made steady progress on decreasing imports of agriculture produce, increasing disease surveillance and successfully defeating the foot-and-mouth disease that mostly affected the NCAs and improved animal movement control. He concluded by saying, “I would like to reassure you that Government will continue to support agriculture as a strategic sector due to its growth and employment-generation potential. A large portion of the population depends on agriculture directly and indirectly for their livelihoods. Approximately 48% of Namibia’s rural households depend on subsistence agriculture and the untapped potential of the sector to create jobs and develop skills. As such, Government interventions in the sector will continue to be substantial.”

The Agra Rundu branch created 15 new permanent employment opportunities. The branch offers sufficient retail space and loading bays to provide a convenient customer shopping experience. Furthermore, it provides comprehensive product ranges, including building materials, hardware, water equipment, fertilizers, household and consumer goods, just to name a few.

The grand opening of the branch was celebrated on Friday, 29 August 2016 with lots of specials. Hon. Mutorwa and Hon. Dr. Mbambo were part of the first customers to shop at Agra Rundu. Suppliers of Agra also joined in by hosting product exhibitions and handing out free gifts while NBC National Radio held an outside broadcasting to share the branch opening with the respective listeners.

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