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Posts by Charles Tjatindi:
Poultry farming might have been a favourite pastime for many farmers back in the day, but that has all changed. The death of prominent farmer Louis van der Merwe has drawn tributes from far and wide, especially from his native Omaheke region, where he was held in high regard. He died on Sunday following an illness. Although the methods of hydroponic fodder production date back to the 1930s, there is renewed interest in hydroponic fodder as a feedstuff for sheep, goats, and other livestock. While many of our livestock farmers produce good quality genetics that could easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with well-established farming brands out there, such farmers do not do much to expose such products to the world or at least the rest of Namibia. The recent livestock movement restrictions and subsequent ban on exports of cattle to South Africa should serve as a wake-up call to farmers. The situation has surely amplified the need for a more diversified approach to farming, as opposed to sorely focusing on one product. If you are a novice farmer who seems overwhelmed by the various decisions on farming you are called to make on the go, do not fret – there are hundreds of others in the same boat. Small-scale crop producers are some of the most hard-working agripreneurs, toiling and cultivating their lands on a daily basis, often against the harsh elements of nature. Agriculture could be the answer to shifting economic patterns, which requires countries to continually strive to do more with less. For a country that still imports roughly 80% of its food, which accounts for more than N$32 billion, Namibia could benefit from a more stern focus on agriculture. A close friend, who has been farming as a livestock farmer for years, recently asked me what the biggest motivation should be for him to turn to crop farming. Farmers from all walks of life are expected to converge on the Agra Ring in Windhoek in two weeks for the much-anticipated strategic farming seminar. It is a critical time for Namibia. With a large, growing youth population – the majority living in rural areas – and a limited amount of arable land, the world is looking to Namibia and by extension, Africa’s potential for growth and prosperity. If you start a restaurant, a law practice, a car wash or even a marketing agency, there’s a pretty high probability that you are going to fail. The same applies to agribusiness. What does a livestock farmer desire when he embarks on improving the genetics of his cattle? Farming can get challenging during the rainy season. With slippery paths and wet surfaces caused by heavy storms and downpour, it is important to be safe from the dangers that farming and other agricultural activities might entail. Given the high rates of mortality due to predators often fluctuating, or weak market prices and susceptibility to theft, is it worthwhile to farm with small stock? Vazuvasana Tjozongoro is a determined man. He intends to take dog breeding to new heights and would stop at nothing to achieve that feat. Gone are the days when farmers relied on one form of farming for an income. In the current set-up where farming has evolved from being a mere sign of wealth, health and all things good, farmers must maximise their earning potential. Fabiola Matuzee, a registered accountant has managed to grow her poultry business from an experimental stage into a fully-fledged business that utilises value addition to its main products at every step of the way. Do not believe the hype about how numbers or quantity is not important in farming. This is a trap, especially if you are an emerging farmer. In our quests to make it as farmers and prove our salt’s worth, we may stumble and fall; it is perfectly normal. Mind you, the quest is no longer just about becoming a farmer, it is now all about ‘agripreunership’.