His day job is to serve the country as the secretary-general of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), but over weekends Job Muniaro slips away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to drive 350 km to Rooi Duin (Red Dune) to be what he really is: a farmer extraordinaire!
Job, who walked off with the coveted trophy of Communal Producer of the Year at this year’s Meatco awards ceremony, set out on his journey to become a top beef producer five years ago on his arrival at Rooi Duin, a resettlement farm in the Rietfontein area in the Omaheke region. And he has never looked back…
“But it was no paved road and nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. It was hard work from day one and taking in huge doses of knowledge at a time to catch up with farmers who have been producing meat of the highest Meatco standards and whose meat landed up in the lucrative Norwegian markets.
“That was my dream too and I attended every Agra course to improve on my knowledge and on weekends I was putting my knowledge into practice. I still do it every weekend and it costs me some N$1 200 every seven days, but it is all worth it,” he told Farmers Forum just after being crowned the best of the best.
Coming from a family of farmers, Job grew up in the Aminuis area and discovered his love for livestock at an early age. He soon became involved in herding cattle and goats and by the time he was a teen, saw himself as a farmer in the making.
As a bachelor he jumped at the opportunity to start farming at Rooi Duin five years ago after he had built up considerable knowledge and practical skills in farming. He started on a very small scale and had to change animal breed crossings a few times to ultimately decide on a cross between Brahman and Simmental, which gave him the quantity and quality meat he needed to market to Meatco.
“It took me some five years to reach this goal with a maximum of 200 cattle as core stock and also some 200 goats and sheep. In the process I learned a lot of tough lessons, like having to write off animals on the road to best quality. Success does not come overnight. It is a long and tough road and requires dedication, passion and vast knowledge on all aspects of farming,” he notes.
Job’s farm – nestled in the red dunes of the Kalahari – this year received well above the average of between 200 and 300 mm of rain per annum. “I received close to 400 mm of rain so far, and I’m very pleased with it, as it secures my rangeland for the winter and also boosted my two boreholes,” he says.
His advice to communal and emerging farmers is to attend as many Agra and Aribank courses as possible, as these courses have helped him a lot to stand n his own feet.
Job says it is also imperative that a farmer knows his farm, the grass types, its carrying capacity and rangeland potential. ”I have a working team of just three people on my farm, but we have an excellent management system in place and my staff have been trained across the spectrum, which includes assisting me in everything from predator control to financing.
“My team and I are extremely proud of our achievements so far, but our ultimate goal is not to just produce meat of the highest international standards. We also want to plough back into the less privileged community and supply them with meat and milk and ultimately make a contribution towards eradicating poverty,” concludes the man who now proudly displays his trophies in a special place at Rooi Duin.