• June 4th, 2020

Rundu family farm feeds nation, agribusiness booms



RUNDU - Poroto Family Agribusiness Farm, just outside Rundu in the Kavango-East region, established some three years back is currently supplying vegetables to supermarkets and caterers.

Narrating the family farm success, Augustinus Poroto, a beneficiary of the Agribank loan scheme said he established Augustinus Poroto AB & Partners (Augustinus and Bernadine Poroto and Sons) about three years ago, a family agricultural business with interest in livestock, crop and horticultural produce. 
“We realised that farming with livestock alone and rain-fed crop production was not commercially viable to re-invest and make a profit; that is why we created our family business,” Poroto explained.

He said the family eventually ventured into open and greenhouse horticulture under irrigation, producing various vegetables which later extended into seed production that they supply to small farmers in communal areas.

“We approached Agribank to fund our borehole, pipes and related infrastructure. The loan also assisted us to put up an additional two hectares of land into production, procure water tanks, a borehole and fence off the field,” said Poroto Junior.

Furthermore, Poroto Junior says agribusiness can be lucrative if managed properly but can also be a great financial loss if poorly executed. 

“Last year, we had a wildlife-human conflict incident when elephants destroyed our water infrastructure. We reported the matter to the Ministry of Environment, but they said they could not refund us. That was the reason we decided to move the horticulture production back to the family plot in the communal area,” he recalled. 

He said, currently, the farm operations are in the hands of the family, and plans are at advance stages to expand crop production gradually. 

“We are currently supplying vegetables to supermarkets and caterers, thanks to the Agronomic Board that connected farmers to local markets. “We want to add some horticulture infrastructure to be more productive in order to provide quality products,” said Poroto Junior.

He said horticulture farmers in the region are now assured of a market as a result of the treasury policy that compels state agencies to procure fresh produce and other food stuff from their respective regions. 
“The directive has encouraged us to go back to the land to provide food by Namibians for Namibians. So, the market is definitely there; it is just for us to produce,” enthused Poroto Junior.

“From my experience so far, I never thought I would like what I am doing right now. I have realised our father has not just availed land to us, but he bought us economic freedom as well,” he added.
“I always look forward to waking up every morning to work on the land with the people and accept that it is a business. The youth should know that if you plant vegetables on a 25m x 50m piece of land, one can recoup the expenses in a short time and make a living from own work. Of course, it takes a lot of efforts and time, but anything worth enjoying should be worked hard for,” said Poroto Junior.

“At the farm, we deliberately made it a rule to employ only those who will come with their spouses, and we employ the wives as casuals. Our business pays the tuition and hostel fees for the children of the workers, as our motto is to keep our staff content,” Poroto Senior underlined.

In turn, Poroto Jnr said “the youth should not be going around looking for a conventional job while they have abandoned the land where they hailed from in the communal area. This is a job as well.”
According to Agribank, to minimise high unemployment among the youth, family agri-business could be one of the remedies, which is basically parents entering into a legal business partnership with their children.

In a successful agri-business, the scope of expansion is ever present, which creates additional jobs as family members will employ themselves and create jobs for others. 

The bank said the Poroto family have illustrated that most of the families and unemployed graduates from rural villages have access to a few hectares of land, which they could turn into a commercial agri-business beyond rain-fed mahangu, maize and legumes.
 


Staff Reporter
2019-12-03 07:35:25 | 6 months ago

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