Are you a patient person? Would you invest in a product and wait five years for it to bear fruit, literally? Well, then olive farming is your calling, as this is exactly what happens during the production cycle of this unique type of farming.
Meet Hans Martin Ritter: he is an olive farmer and has been practicing this farming mode since 2016 with his brother York Ritter on Farm Woodstock, some few kilometers from Hochfeld in the Otjozondjupa region.
When the farming business started in 2016, the Ritters planted some 800 trees on a 2 hectare piece of land. This was a trial run, as the brothers attempted to venture into other forms of farming in addition to livestock farming.
“We have been farming with cattle and sheep for a long time and thought it was time we also look into something else. That is when the idea for olive farming came about,” Hans Ritter said.
The abundant water on the farm was another factor that pushed the brothers into considering olive production.
Today, the family’s olive plantation has swelled to 8 000 trees, which are grown on 20 hectares of land.
Explaining the farming method of lives, Ritter said a tree has to grow to be about five years before it starts bearing olives.
“You plant a small tree in the ground, nurture it and take care of it for about five years before it starts paying you back. It’s a long wait but could be worth it in the end,” said Ritters, who noted that venturing into olive farming is a blessing for the family.
A fully grown olive tree, Ritter said, can produce between 30kg and 40kg of olives – a bounty full harvest that pays for the long wait.
When asked how long an olive tree will be fertile to keep producing these number of olives, a clearly excited Ritter said such trees can produce for life.
“ We have olive trees in Israel that were planted during Jesus’s time – they still produce fresh olive every year. Just imagine. That is how best an olive tree rewards your patience,” he said.
Ritter said a local olive producer’s best bet in terms of selling his products is the overseas market, which he said is lucrative and always willing to take on more suppliers.
“There is currently a high demand for olives across the world, especially in the Middle East and Europe. When you consider venturing into this venture, it would be best to consider these markets. You can still sell to your local supermarkets too, but the bigger market is overseas,” he noted.
Ritter encouraged those who would want to venture into olive farming to take on the venture without doubt, as it is rewarding in the end.
He, however, advised it would be best to still keep the current farming method one is into to cover for the gap before olive production matures.
“This is a game of patience. With the right amount of patience, you can definitely win in this game,” said Ritter.