Namwandi defies all odds in farming

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Obrein Simasiku

Farm Oliewenhof – He might be a forgotten man in politics, but former education minister David Namwandi is making waves in commercial farming and has defied drought and other challenges to keep thriving in this area. With this, he said, he intends to help feed the nation, as per the call of the government.

“I believe a hungry man is an angry man, therefore I am trying to make ends meet with the little I have. I urge all Namibians to work hard, so that we can feed ourselves and others when there is a surplus and that way no man will be hungry,” Namwandi, the founder of the International University of Management (IUM), said.

He owns Farm Oliewenhof Onambabi, a 5,000 hectare piece of land near Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region. His passion for farming started not too long ago when he realised the depth of food insecurity in the country. He then approached Agribank for a loan.

“Fortunately my loan application was approved in 2012 and that is when I bought this farm in the vicinity of the Maize Triangle of Grootfontein,” he recalled.

“At first I found nothing here, apart from a few wild animals, such as springboks and warthogs. Now I have turned this farm into a productive piece of land where I now cultivate white maize on a large scale. I also farm with cattle, goats, chickens, horses and kudus to mention a few,” said an enthusiastic Namwandi.

He noted that his only challenge in turning to horticulture is the lack of a suitable irrigation system, which he is still trying to acquire and which will enable year-round production.

He employs six workers and says job opportunities are limited due to the availability of machinery on the farm.

“This year we are looking forward to having a good harvest of about 600 tonnes of maize if we continue receiving some good rains, as compared to previous years, when we only managed to harvest 200 tonnes,” he said while point at three tractors, a harvester and planter.

“I was very disappointed to note that the country last year imported 70 percent of cereals. This trend should change. We should work together [to address it]. Hence, I will extend the field so that we can produce more for the people.”

Namwandi further implored those that own farms and especially the resettled farmers on government farms to seize all opportunities to turn the land on which they are based into productive forces to feed themselves and the country at large.

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