Noordoewer – To achieve great results in whatever one does, one needs passion to do the best one can and passion has indeed been a part of Sonop Farm’s success story over the years.
What started as a family business in 1981, growing vegetables on land measuring only 10-hectares along the Orange River at Noordower, has over time grown into one of Namibia’s leading producers of fruit and vegetables, includes tomatoes, greenpepper, butternut, as well as grapes.
Sonop has over the years gone from strength to strength and currently has 200 hectares of land under production, producing about 950 000 tonnes of fresh produce per year, mainly for export to South Africa. Director Nico Van Der Merwe says it is all down to passion for the industry.
Sitting down with New Era to discuss the company’s tremendous growth over the years, Van Der Merwe said their success is due to the passion of everyone at Sonop, explaining that people love what they do and it gives them satisfaction doing their jobs, which brings success to the company.
“We all have that passion for the industry. If you don’t have passion then you won’t be able to do anything at all,” he believes.
Another thing he believes brings success to the company is the fact that they are goal and task oriented firstly, before anything else. He says money is secondary to their core target of reaching a specified goal first, adding that the company puts their people first and proudly informed New Era that an independent ethical test recently showed that workers are happy to be at Sonop.
“We appoint people not just to fill a gap, but when we believe the people have the passion and skills to add something to the company. And workers take ownership of their work and the company,” he said.
Speaking of the challenges the company faces, he pointed to changing climatic conditions as one major problem, stating that the failure to learn, change and adapt to new conditions will ruin agricultural production, but added that the company has so far managed to navigate around that problem successfully.
Van Der Merwe further said despite the challenges they face, Sonop is still developing and aims to expand and with Namibia’s conducive environment for business, more can be expected from a company that wants to conquer markets all over the globe.
“Of course you want to invest more when you are safe. And this we have in our country and it’s an invaluable thing to have,” he said, is praise of the political stability in the country.