Former minister ventures into commercial farming

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Obrein Simasiku

Farm Oliewenhof-Former minister of education, arts and culture David Namwandi has vowed to defy all odds with his venture into full-time commercial farming, saying he aims to feed the whole nation and hopes others would emulate him. “I believe a hungry man is an angry man, and I am only 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 angry. We should all avoid temptation such as laziness because that’s a disease which cannot be tolerated and we should fight this at all costs,” stressed Namwandi who owns farm Oliewenhof Onambabi, a 5 000-hectare unit.

He further explains that his motive for venturing into farming dates years back when he was just a so-called business person and realised that food security was a national concern, and so he decided to approach the Agricultural Bank of Namibia for a loan.

“Fortunately my loan application was approved in 2012 and that is when I bought this farm (Oliewenhof Onambambi) in the vicinity of the maize triangle of Grootfontein. At first I found nothing here apart from a few wild animals such as springbok and warthog.

Now I have turned this land into a productive farm where I cultivate white maize on a large scale. I also farm with cattle, goats, chickens, horses and kudu to mention but a few,” said an enthusiastic Namwandi, emphasising that he intends to be a serious commercial farmer, although most of the time he might be in Windhoek.

Namwandi adds that his only challenge to turn to horticulture is the lack of an irrigation system, which he is still trying to acquire. He has six employees on the farm and emphasises that the number of employees needed is limited as they use machinery and little is done manually. He however points out that the number of employees increases during the harvesting period. “This year we are looking forward to have 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 in 2013, and 2014/15/16 was not good at all. We cleared about 100 hectares where we cultivate maize, and I can tell you that it was not easy as I had to debush that whole area. Then I bought machinery – I can assure you that the equipment was expensive but this year I can see it was a worthy investment,” he said, pointing at three tractors, a harvester and a planter.

“I was very disappointed to note that the country last year imported 70 percent of cereals – this trend should change and we should work together. Hence I will extend the field so that we can produce more for the people,” said Namwandi.

He implores those owning farms, especially those resettled on government farms, to seize such opportunities and turn the land into productive units so that they can feed themselves.

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