Mondesa hawker’s market groomed for great success

Sharlien Tjambari

The increase in street vending as a means for Namibians to create jobs for themselves urged the municipality of Swakopmund to create a pilot hawker’s market in the town’s Mandume ya Ndemufayo Street (Mondesa). The vendor’s market will no undergo trial and error with the aim of establishing a permanent market.

According to the Mayor of Swakopmund, Clr Pauline Nashilundo, the selling of food products on pavements and on street corners, as a means of ensuring their livelihood, has become a norm.
People revert to vending in order to augment in-come, for others it is the only means of income and for many that is also a means of food security. By supporting vendors people can buy food items in small quantities and can therefore stretch their budgets according to the avail-ability of money.
“It provides employment and income to low income households; it also brings food nearer to residential areas which are located far from amenities like stores, supermarkets and shop-ping malls.
It has become an attractive option for those seeking greater autonomy than through formal employment. As a result it empowers marginalised members of our society and contributes to fairer distribution of income generating resources”, explained Clr Nashilundo at the official launch.
The micro enterprises sector, also known as the sector for street vendors, has expanded and has become a cherished part of local culture. It became a valuable tourist attraction too, the mayor added.
But there is also a down side. Concerns have been raised over issues like food safety. It is important for vendors to keep levels of hygiene high both during preparation, transport and selling of the food items, as there are many risks associated. One of these risks are Hepatitis E which is mainly spread by unhygienic personal habits or where food is handled in open spaces without refrigeration facilities and other much needed infrastructure, added Clr. Nashilundo.
The formal business sector, with high operating cost and tax burdens, often wish to eliminate vendors. Many of these businesses regard them as competition for customers and to others these informal markets look unsightly in front of their brick and mortar shops.
A total of 33 food vendors have been identified in the Mandume Ya Ndemufayo Street, on erf 525 opposite the old single quarters. These food vendors will be provided with training on safe food preparation, handling and storage practices.
Personal hygiene will also be high on the training agenda as well as the proper upgrading of vendor stands.
The Health Services Department of the Swakopmund Municipality is the mastermind behind this pilot project. The aim is to improve conditions for vendors, as their improved condition will set off a value chain right through to the consumer.
Some achievements so far are recycled wood the municipality obtained from Swakop Uranium to build proper stalls and the area was also paved which will greatly enhance hygienic conditions.
Through this initiative, Council foresees the improvement in quality of products sold by the informal sector. This will result in clean, healthy and affordable products being sold to the residents. Council further envisages creating facilities that can provide a safer environment for the display of these products.

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