There is no straight answer to the question of what can be defined as organised agriculture but one thing is for certain and that is that organised farming starts with the farmer himself/herself, says Senior Agricultural Research Technician at the Neudamm Agricultural College, Vevangaije Kandjii.
Organised agriculture is especially important in tough times like Namibian farmers are experiencing now due to drought and food insecurity. “It is all about what the plans are of the farmer and how he or she makes these plans become realities, as well as how he wants to achieve his/hers aims and objectives for the farm as a business entity,” he stresses. These well-thought out plans will spill over to the farmer’s family members and family members again infect the community with their approaches to new innovations and technologies. “This spills over to the community and creates awareness and interest among the regional leadership and the latter influences central government after which development should take place,” Kandjii notes.
He further emphasises that love and passion for farming, together with commitment toward farming form the foundation of any successful farming system. “Farmers must have well-defined aims and objectives for their farming enterprise, and they must know what they want to achieve with their business. They must also know to what farming association they should belong and how such a farming association will assist them to realise their aims and objectives. Farmers must band together to get a better deal when selling or buying and to influence decision makers,” he notes.
Regarding the roles and responsibilities of members in organised agriculture (farmers’ associations), Kandjii says members must have a well-defined constitution, which will guide them in all their endeavours. Short, medium and long term objectives must be clear and spelled out to all members. Organised farmers’ days for discussion and exchange of information are also vital in this link,” he says. Many problems can be avoided when proper planning is done and the farming enterprise relies on a solid structure built on an equally solid foundation.
“The bottom line is that organised agriculture/farming must be done from the ground up. No top-down approach, please,” Kandjii concludes.