Agra’s largest retail branch officially opened

Windhoek: Agra’s largest retail branch opening was officiated by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, last Wednesday at the Agra Hyper Centre in Lafrenz, Windhoek.

The launch of this investment of just over N$110 million was described by Agra Chairman of the Board, Ryno van der Merwe as “a celebration of perseverance and growth, trust and confidence, hard work, good workmanship and dedication, good governance, and being proudly Namibian.”

Agra’s outgoing CEO, Peter Kazmaier expressed his pride in celebrating yet another milestone and having fulfilled one of his and his team’s dreams in his 20 years as CEO of the company. Kazmaier explained a number of challenges experienced at the Agra Windhoek branch that are addressed in the retail development at Agra Hyper.

Sufficient space; faster and more effective loading of vehicles, easier traffic flow as well as a much larger and more extensive range of products provide for a top class shopping experience.

The search for another location was prompted by the fact that Agra Windhoek branch had outgrown its available shop and yard space which has been expanded and upgraded three times. Four erven were then purchased in the Trustco Industrial Park in Lafrenz and consolidated in order to achieve optimal space requirements.

The services of Namibian companies were used for the construction of the development and during construction a number of temporary and some permanent employment positions were created. At least 90 new employment positions were created by Agra for staff necessary to operate the new facility.

The retail store has floor space of 3 250m² and the bulk store extends over an area of more than 2 600m², while the total investment in stock amounts to more than N$28million.

Minister Tweya, who conveyed the inauguration speech on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, stated that Agra plays a crucial role as provider of inputs to the agricultural industry, marketer of livestock and our Swakara pelts and as provider of expert advice, mentoring and training. He also stated that Agra will continue to play an important role in agriculture, as well as the general economy.

Economic prospects show that there will be a slowdown in agricultural growth in the coming year due to the drought and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the northern regions of the country, while growth in wholesale and retail trade is expected to remain strong.

The minister commended Agra’s initiatives to grow and make a difference and its strategy to diversify some business interests in non-agricultural investments to counteract the cyclical nature of agriculture with steady income streams, not dependent on weather conditions.

This not only contributes to strong growth in the wholesale and retail trade, but also to the community by making essential products available to the general public at reasonable prices. Agra’s investment in another retail branch in the north, which will soon be opened in Rundu, is also appreciated by government.

The minister’s message was concluded with a special word of congratulations to Kazmaier, who served as CEO of Agra for 20 years. “Looking at Agra’s growth during the past number of years and your investments through a number of upgrades and new developments, countrywide – you and your team definitely make such words as improvement, achievement and success visible and meaningful,” he said, as he wished Agra the best of success with its business in the Lafrenz Industrial Area of Windhoek.