Cooperative grows in leaps and bounds

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Matheus Hamutenya

Aroab-Hard work over the years has finally paid off for the Klein-Karas Cooperative members, who have made significant strides to improve their livelihoods since they were resettled.

Government resettled the cooperative, with about 96 members, on a 9,334-hectare farm back in 2005.

The group has since worked tirelessly to maximise production to enable them to sell their products to local consumers.

Johannes Markus, a founder member of the cooperative says the group mostly farm with sheep and goats, while they also produce vegetables as part of their gardening project.

The women also do needlework – mainly producing traditional patched attire.
Markus explains that the activities of the group have expanded, while their livestock has increased over the years.

They started with about 40 sheep that have now increased to over 300, which he describes as a phenomenal and life-changing growth rate.

“It has changed our lives. When we started as a cooperative, we did not have a vehicle, but we managed to buy one with the money we made. We are now able to sustain our families, and ourselves,” he said.

Markus says the car is not only useful for doing business, but it helps the entire community – especially the elderly people when they need to travel to the hospital in Karasburg, which is about 90 kilometres away.

The little income they earn from their farming activities also helps sustain the farm, especially when it comes to buying fodder during the dry seasons.

He further says that while they have faced challenges that is something that comes with farming.

Despite the challenges, they have managed to farm successfully, partly with the assistance from the government in setting up fences and other infrastructure.

The biggest obstacle they have faced so far is the drought, which he said forced them to sell some of the livestock especially goats, but he predicts this year will be a good year.

Some members of the cooperative have steady outside jobs, but most members rely on the income from their farming activities. Monthly sales of their products usually enable members to receive a small monthly income

Sarah Mungenda (56), who is a housewife, serves as the chairperson of the cooperative and among those, whose livelihood depends entirely on the income the cooperative makes.

She says she works hard for the group so that at the end of the day they can earn income they can share, which allows members to provide for their families.

In her opinion, working and producing something on your own should be the way for all Namibians, instead of waiting for other people or the government to provide.

“Let’s not just sit at home doing nothing, we should do something each day. We should work together and be productive,” she implored other members of the cooperative.

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