Weekend farming just isn’t a brand new idea in Namibia as many individuals often complement their month-to-month revenue with some form of part-time agricultural exercise. Nonetheless, a monetary planner at a neighborhood financial institution, Aubrey Hardine, has a brand new inspiration, partly led to by the Covid-19 pandemic, to evolve his small-scale farm right into a full-fledged industrial operation.
The monetary planner, who’s progressively swapping the boardroom for the tractor, at present has some 0.3 hectares of land underneath pumpkin cultivation, which he intends to develop to 1 hectare by August this yr. This, he stated, is his bid to contribute within the discount of the nation’s over reliance on fruit and vegetable imports. These imports, largely from South Africa, in 2019 totalled an astronomical US$59.56 million or over N$897 million at at this time’s trade charges.
“Covid-19 confirmed us the fragility of our meals safety however I see the pandemic as a chance for Namibia to utilise farmland productively to extend our meals safety. If we as Namibians assist our native farmers, then that’s how we are able to develop the agricultural trade to develop into meals safe. If all of us purchase native recent produce, think about what that may do to our GDP,” Hardine acknowledged.
The pandemic’s influence on job safety and meals import uncertainty ignited Hardine’s dream to go full steam right into a industrial farming operation. “I need to make farming a worthwhile enterprise. This implies going industrial and that entails going far past simply planting seeds and including water,” stated Hardine.
As a full-time monetary planner, Hardine needed to rope in knowledgeable farming recommendation, which he admits was not a straightforward feat. After looking excessive and low, he ultimately secured priceless mentorship and not too long ago harvested and marketed 5 tons of pumpkins, for which he secured provide to native retailers in the direction of the tip of final yr.
“My spouse, Chantelle, and I managed to safe some land in February 2020 simply earlier than the beginning of the pandemic within the Rietoog space. She has actually been the spine of the operation and a very good enterprise accomplice. We each realised that this pandemic just isn’t going away and all farmers ought to actually discover a option to meet the demand in Namibia. As soon as we do this then we are able to begin exporting our domestically grown merchandise to the area and past,” Hardine added.
To be truthful, Hardine already had deep roots in farming that stemmed from early publicity to crop cultivation within the Rietoog space of southern Namibia by his grandfather, Frans Willem McNab. Hardine remembers tagging alongside along with his grandfather to market crops at a close-by city referred to as Nabaseb.
Now, in his personal pursuit of farming as a full-time exercise however along with his full-time company gig in Windhoek, he wanted assistance on the farm. For this he requested his Windhoek-based home employee, Oscar Naunyango, to take up the problem. Naunyango accepted and is now the farm supervisor.
Stated Hardine: “Oscar actually blossomed on the farm and got here out of his shell. He has nice concepts and we have now been studying collectively on the way to maximise our yields. One of many nice features of farming is its scope for empowerment and creating jobs.”
In the meantime, to assist native farmers, the Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB) has imposed strict rules, efficient since 1 August 2020, to curb the importation of recent fruit and veggies. The brand new measures, meant to encourage native manufacturing, contain import levies, commerce levies and subjecting all aspiring and present importers to register with the board and purchase import permits.
The brand new rules are aimed toward defending native producers from extreme international competitors and to encourage native manufacturing, stated NAB.
In line with the NAB’s Horticulture Market Improvement Supervisor, Emilie Abraham, the rules are in keeping with the Market Share Promotion (MSP) scheme to stimulate native manufacturing and the commerce of horticultural merchandise in Namibia. She famous the choice to manage the imports of fruit and veggies was taken following a rise within the importation of main processed fruit and vegetable merchandise that may be simply produced in Namibia utilizing native uncooked supplies.