Rabban Nghishidimbwa is an agripreneur on a mission. Not only has he managed to set up and run a niche business, he has taken it upon himself to educate and train others in the vibrant agriculture sector on small-scale agribusinesses.
Armed with an Honours degree in agriculture, Nghishidimbwa owns and run Sky Drip Irrigation, an enterprise that specialises in the installation and supply of drip irrigation equipment and material.
Sky Drip Irrigation was started in February 2021, to advance the relatively new concept of drip irrigation in the country.
Watching Nghishidimbwa going about his business, it is clear that he would not do anything else than nip and tuck away at the pipes and taps of his irrigation business. He made the work look seamless as his love for what he does clearly beams on his products.
But it was not always this easy for the self-made agripreneur; he had to clear some hurdles to get to where he is today.
Born in a small village in the Ohangwena region, Nghishidimbwa attributes his yearning for success in the agribusiness sector to his father, whom he described as a formidable businessman in his own right.
“My father ran several small shops in and around the Ohangwena region. He was also a livestock farmer who instilled in me the value of farming,” Nghishidimbwa said.
He noted that through interacting with his father, he learned the basics of running a business such as record keeping, stocktaking and the general upkeep of a shop.
After matriculating in 2012, the would-be agripreneur had to look for odd jobs to sustain himself, as he failed to score enough points for admission to university. Two years later, he scored a break after he was admitted to a University of Namibia bridging course, which would later pave his way into studying agriculture.
“After completing the one-year bridging course, I enrolled at Ogongo agricultural college to pursue my dream of studying in the field of agriculture. I must however admit that at one time, I had thought of venturing into education as a career,” he said.
After years of little sleep and a lot of physical work through practicals, Nghishidimbwa eventually completed his BSc (Agriculture) degree in 2020.
He told AgriToday that never had he thought of joining the rat race or settle for a 08h00 to 17h00 office jobs, as he yearned to apply his training and passion to something of his own making.
The realisation that many graduates are still struggling to land permanent jobs, further motivated Nghishidimbwa to chart his own course.
Sky Drip Irrigation’s main market, according to its founder, is the emerging enterprises.
“Drip irrigation is a relatively new concept in the country, but Namibia being a semi-arid country with scarce water, it is best suited for this environment. That is why many farmers are changing to using efficient modes of irrigation,” he said.
The agripreneur believes that university graduates should change their mindset from being job seekers to job creators, as the job market is saturated. Also, there are no more guarantees that one would remain employed for a long time, as this could change anytime. This is especially true as has been proven during the current pandemic where many lost their jobs.
“We need to prioritise agriculture, as there are great opportunities in the sector. Agriculture is more than just crop or livestock farming. There are other opportunities; we need to explore other areas of agriculture such as technology, mechanisation and value addition of agriculture. Forget office jobs, there are no guarantees in those jobs,” he said.