Elegance Foods and Omulamba Plantation, a family business started by a couple Mr Phillip and May Hikumwah, is busy filling the niche of home-grown-and-value-added food products in Ohangwena Region.
“Ours is a unique business operation, that one might say is the first of its kind agricultural and agro-processing enterprise in the Village of Okongo,” says May Hikumwah.
Based some 5 km from Okongo, at Omulamba village, Omulamba Plantation produces 6 tonnes of granadilla annually. The plantation, consisting of a 5 hectares orchard and vegetable garden, also produces other fruits, which are processed into juices and jams of several varieties such as Granadilla, Kalahari Melon, Lemon, African Thorn Melon, and Mango.
“We also have an apple jam, and orange jam,” May says.
While apple trees are yet to bear fruits, apple jam is made from apples bought from retailers, while the orange jam is made out of orange peelings which most people would rather throw away.
“We also produce Mahangu and Marula nuts cookies, Dates Honey, Peanut candy and peanut butter,” May says.
Apart from producing various agricultural products and processing them into delicious products, another focus area of Elegance Foods is the empowerment of previously disadvantaged women.
“I also host trainings in value addition,” May says. “I have trained 113 women just to empower them so that as women we can be at the same page, when the African Trade Forum is ready then we would be ready as Namibian women to export our products. So that is the aim of my companies.”
In terms of the market, “our products are available in the informal markets as we all are aware that it’s a bit of a challenge to penetrate the retailers since most of them are South African retailers, but we are busy negotiating because I got my barcodes recently through the Namibia Trade Forum.
“Basically what was hindering me is barcodes because I have 12 to 13 products, and it’s not easy to acquire at the same time barcodes for all your products.
“I am a member of the Namibian Manufacturers Association, so with them they are also assisting me for our products to be available countrywide very soon. But I can proudly say that our products are very much loved, and people are encouraging us to go for bigger production.”
Starting from small scale production and an agro-processing facility at the family home, the company has upscaled its operations. With a plantation on an 8-10 hectares of land and with 2 boreholes which provide irrigation water, May says that with a little more capital investment Elegance Foods has all the potential to become a significant producer and supplier of food for Ohangwena, for Namibia, and beyond the borders.
In the photo: May Hikumwah showing off some of the products they brought to the Ohangwena Agri-food Conference-expo that took place in Eenhana on 10-13 August.