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Seedpods and grass sold for survival

Seedpods and grass sold for survival

Pictured: Men women and children ply their trade in harvested grass and camel thorn seedpods next to the B1 highway north of Windhoek. – Photos: Marthina Mutanga

Marthina Mutanga
THE informal sale of grass and seedpods next to the B1 main road has become a profitable business for traders who found a niche in the market in the current drought situation as farmers buy the products on sale.
THE 30-year-old Anna Thomas who hails from the Ohangwena Region has found alternative ways of making money by selling grass and seedpods to passers-by.
Thomas gathers her wares in the bush surrounding Windhoek and sells her products from her stall, by the side of the busy road a few kilometres north of Windhoek. She and other women with roadside stalls use their earnings from selling their wares to buy food and other household essentials.
Farmers pay N$5.00 for a sheaf of grass or N$20 for a ten kilogram bundle of grass sheaves.
Anna said she has been doing the roadside business for the past six years. She normally collects the goods she sells during the week to have it ready for sale on Fridays and Saturdays when farmers return to their farms after doing business in the city during the week. Over weekends is when she sells the bulk of her grass.
The 27-year- old Kakoto Messa decided to collect camel thorn seedpods at the road side near the Hosea Kutako International Airport during the week. He then moves to the B1 road north of Windhoek over the weekends to sell his product packed in old feed bags. He also sells the product per weight. Farmers buy the seedpods because it is a very good source of nutrition for cattle.
Messa said it normally only takes him half a day to collect enough seedpods to fill ten bags before he brings it to the roadside marketplace over the weekends.
“A day can go by with customers passing by without us doing any sales but I do not give up hope. I keep harvesting and coming back here to sell the grass and seedpods,” said Messa.
Messa like the other traders on the side of the road have no other means to support themselves and the families.

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