It is encouraging to pen a story of a communal farmer defying all odds and doing well in the dog-eat-dog world of livestock stud farming. When listening to someone like Elton Gurirab (this edition’s cover story) narrate his journey into stud farming, one cannot help but appreciate the efforts that went into such a journey.
Gurirab not only managed to beat more established farmers’ high price averages for his animals, but through that, he has proven that it is possible – whatever the dream is.
He showed that dedication and commitment are far more potent weapons than hard cash, or by extension large hectares of land to farm from.
This is no easy feat. These farmers are accustomed to winning, and usually settle for nothing less.
They are used to leading and breaking records year in and year out in the stud auction ring. But this year was going to be different for a young man from Okombahe would drive his animals into the ring, and the story would never be the same again.
Gurirab’s story could be replicated by many other farmers who may find themselves in similar settings: communal land, limited water, grazing difficulties. The farmer from Â#gomes (|Naras) in the Erongo region might have stepped ahead of others, but many could learn from the tracks he had undertaken.
I have in previous columns stressed that while land is vital for production, its limitation should not be a death sentence to our dreams as farmers.
We are made to rise above that and soar high above these challenges.
But to rise above such challenges requires a different mindset. We cannot be thinking as poor communal farmers on “the land God made in anger” any longer. Self-pity will take us nowhere.
You, as a farmer, are greater than that. Start by adopting a winning mentality. How do you do that, you ask? Well, be proactive and stop expecting things to fall on your lap.
Trust me, there are a lot of laps patiently waiting for things to fall on them, and you will be just another digit in that long queue if you choose this approach.
A winning mentality entails that you push matters yourself. Read up, research, hang out with those who went before you and learn from their experiences, and most importantly, put things into practice.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, or so they say. Take that step, and walk graciously in awe of your achievements for you will achieve greatness if you do.
A winning mentality also means we should stop being passive farmers who are good at bragging, but weak in execution.
If you are proud to don those khaki shirts and pants, at least be real about it, and actually have something to show for it.
As someone aspiring to reach optimum levels with the products you farm with, make room for trial and error, for you will fail. Yes, even tried and tested methods often fail. But rise again like the mythical phoenix, and claim your spot.
You will make it, as did Gurirab.
Being a Facebook and WhatsApp farmer, most of whom appear to be experts at everything on farming, will get you down.
“Voeg die daad by die woord,” the Afrikaners would tell you. If greatness is what you are after, well, go for it! But not in pretence.
Go for it in real life.
This does, however, not mean that the government should stand on the sidelines and simply cheer you on as a communal farmer.
As the cow that provides milk to the entire village, communal farmers need the government in their corner. And it is not just lip service they require, tangible action through incentives and policy changes would do.
I so submit.