WINDHOEK – Jackson Hindjou, communal dairy producer and owner of Ndjoura fresh milk shop in Okakarara, is an upcoming farmer who, despite drought conditions in his area, has taken on the challenge of dairy farming.
“As a farmer and an entrepreneur, despite the impact of climate change on farming in Okakarara and the fact that communal farmers are mostly experiencing a decrease in livestock production, and there is thus a lack of frequent milk provision for their household purposes, I have the opportunity to add value to this needy community,” said Hindjou.
Hindjou’s motto is ‘Striving for Service Excellence’. He currently employs three Namibians who sell fresh milk and omaere to the local community.
“My gratitude extends towards Namibia Dairies as they have donated a fridge to my shop, as well as a bull, which has greatly assisted me in getting my business off the ground,” commented Hindjou.
He said that many people prefer the taste and high butterfat content of fresh or raw milk and it is therefore the responsibility of communal producers to make raw milk accessible and within reach of all consumers.
He shared a few tips to ensure the success of a business which includes that livestock used for milk production need to be kept healthy and their movement should be monitored to ensure that they do not eat unhealthy objects.
Hindjou added: “Make sure that the milk is transported in adequate and proper cooling containers to keep its quality and taste; labelling or branding of your product’s containers for traceability as a safety issue is important; start with other add-on dairy products like traditional butter and yoghurt; produce limited fodder for livestock considering the available land space in communal areas and cross-breed to limit production cost but ensure adequate production of milk for marketing.” He said that registration with relevant authorities is important and so are agreements with commercial players such as Namibia Dairies.
“It is of utmost importance that the infrastructural support is there and that especially the milking and cooling structures at the production site are 100 percent in order. I would also like to emphasize that a business should try for a unique selling point (USP) which differentiates itself from all the competitors out there – our USP, for example, is the fact that our milk is bottled in proper plastic bottles unlike other similar rural businesses where milk is bottled in cool-drink plastic bottles,” said Hindjou.
When looking at some of the challenges he faced, Hindjou added that often a lack of management skills of the smallholder is a hindrance as well as lack of adequately trained and qualified staff at all levels of the dairy value chain.
“Poor genetic makeup of the dairy herd is also a problem as this leads to low productivity, and support is needed in the form of dairy bulls for cross-breeding purposes. Other challenges include the poor rural infrastructure, inefficient transportation of raw milk as well as lack of cooling facilities, which are needed to ensure that milk is chilled within two – four hours after milking.”
He said all of these issues should be addressed through a combination of training, information dissemination and policy which would create an enabling environment for honest trade and robust regulations. “Incentives or finance should be made available to communal dairy producers for infrastructure, transport, operational costs and capacity building as a way of mainstreaming in the dairy value chain. The practical issues for structuring the dairy sector to assist in rural development must incorporate all the technical, physical, organizational, economic and social aspects of rural development, which should be consistent with the overall strategy for national development.”