Female Agriculture Business Excels in the Zambezi region
20 October 2022
Agnes Limbo is spearheading a change in consumer mentality with her local fruits and vegetables.
Agnes Mundia Limbo is currently farming with crop varieties such as strawberries, paw-paws, leeks, sweat potatoes, bananas and much more, here in Namibia in the Zambezi region.
She grew-up in the village of Kanzinzila, in the Sibbinda constituency. After studying at Kizito secondary school until grade 10, she joined in 1975 a number of students who fled the country to join SWAPO’s liberation movement in Zambia. Two years after that, she resumed her education at the United Nations Institute of Namibia (UNIN) in Lusaka. She obtained Master’s degree in the in 2000 at the University of Manchester, specialising in health planning and management.
Being constantly on the go, traveling the world, Agnes believed every day is a chance to learn and that life’s gurus are often found in the least expected people and circumstances. And it is of crucial importance too, to never forget where you came from and what you learned as a child:
“As a child born and raised in a village, my parents taught me from early years that growing your own food is important, because you will never go to bed hungry. They also used to tell me that land is very important in one’s life, because you can build your home on it and eat from it.”
It almost started like a joke, where she planted things like spinach, tomatoes and onions in small plastic bags and eat for a month or so without having to go to the supermarket. The size of her garden significantly expanded during the rainy seasons, allowing her to sell her surplus to her neighbors. “I love my food fresh and I enjoy seeing that whatever seed I plant, it will germinate without problems. And finally, I enjoy being surrounded by green vegetation.” And when asked about her aims, Agnes replied that the sky is the limit.
“My original aims haven't changed and will not change. The main aim of this business is to supply locally and internationally if resources will be available one day. Second, it is to be one of the leading organic farmers in the country, and offer training to other farmers.”
Whilst she officially started her business in 2018, the actual operation only began in 2020 following difficulties to pay for the drilling of a borehole, drip pipes and a water tank. Lyambezi Foods still only hold a small share of the market. This can be explained by the youth of the business, but also the tendency for locals to believe that imported products are better than local equivalents. Another factor is the cost of transport when it comes to selling produce on larger platforms such as Katima Mulilo and Windhoek.
Despite the difficulties, the two biggest being access to water and funding, Agnes is still holding on to her dream. She is most excited about her strawberries, the growing of which has proven many local doubters wrong. She is also noticing growth in awareness of her farm on social media and she receives more and more orders from Katima Mulilo.
Why is buying Namibian products important? “Because local is lekker”, says Agnes. They are fresher, always available and tend to be cheaper than imported products. They are also easily traceable to the producer of the product. But perhaps the most compelling argument is that if all Namibians buy into the idea, a lot of money will be injected in our economy, more jobs will be created and food will be cheaper, compared to what is happening now. According to Agnes, the agricultural sector will be the largest employer in the country in the long-term. If Namibia becomes an exporter of some, even few, of the products it conventionally imports, a lot of money could be saved and put to use where it can really make a difference.
“Local, regional and national platforms should partake in creating awareness on why buying local is very important. All of us need to be agents of change in order to realize this dream.”
You can buy Lyambezi Foods products directly at the farm or you can order them by calling Agnes through her social media page.
This feature is part of a UN Namibia series to highlight local goods or service providers in support of the Buy Local Grow Namibia campaign and who we believe are actively working toward the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Buy Local, Grow Namibia campaign supports growth in the production and consumption of Namibian goods and services.