Namibia: Okakarara Woman Poultry Farmer Narrates Journey in the Industry ... Calls for Investors

The partnership between Mastercard Foundation and IITA aims to enable 242,724 young Nigerian women and men to build skills and secure dignified and fulfilling work opportunities in the agrifood value chain over the next 5 years.

Poultry farmer Vetjavi Mutjavikua, a resident of Otumborombonga, some 16km north-west of Okakarara, has shared her poultry farming experience, saying for one to succeed, a "thick skin and a 'never-quit' attitude is essential ".

Mutjavikua, a former Namibia Defence Force (NDF) procurement officer, who started the now popular Ohunguriva Chicken Farm in 2008, says her poultry farming business is consistently growing; however, expansion and development is difficult, as financing and investment always remains a challenge.

"I started with 300 birds in 2008 - free range of course. It has always been my goal to own something of my own. I knew if I applied myself, I could create something for myself. For my family and hopefully develop it into something that would create employment for the people in my region," she said.

According to Mutjavikua, Namibians love the taste of chicken in every form, and the current local demand requires around 600 tonnes of chicken every month.

"To meet this demand, we at Ohunguriva want to contribute to this production and reach a point where our farm can produce and process 100 tonnes of chicken every month," she told Farmers Forum.

"Being reliant on import is not good as we have seen with the lockdown recently. Suddenly, certain foods become scarce. If we produce our food, we become self-sufficient and added benefits include creating more much-needed employment as well as generating revenue that stays in the country," Mutjavikua said.

She said at present, her business has a total of four permanent staff and six temporary staff that will, of course, increase greatly once she receives the necessary investment to upscale production.

Speaking of challenges, Mutjavikua says starting a business is always difficult; however, she has worked in the poultry industry for more than ten years, so that part was easy.

"Getting the money together to build, develop and also keep the business going is where the real challenges lay. It is something we have to deal with every day right now; we have a brilliant idea that would generate income, turnover and create jobs, yet the investment opportunity is simply not there," she said.

She said another challenge is the issue of finding a market. "You may have eggs, chicken and chicken-based products, but how do you market that? As a farmer, I had no real concept on how to do this. Luckily, you learn and you speak to other people and farmers - and you slowly learn".

Furthermore, Mutjavikua says being partners with Seedstars and the GIZ Start-up and being one of the runner's up of the competition was great; it created many opportunities for her.

"Suddenly, there were people who were able to assist with creating marketing plans, helping with communication, as well as what to look out for from a business point of view. Having a solid business foundation and administration in order is essential for a business to develop and expand," she said.

"I met like-minded individuals who were also starting businesses and it gave me a lot of reassurance knowing that others were going through the same challenges," she added.

She said the most important thing that GIZ's support has given her is the belief that she is on the right path and that it is worthwhile what she is doing.

"Sticking with it, with the support we are receiving, leaves me in no doubt that Ohunguriva Investment will ultimately be a very successful business running in Okakarara," she said.

Caption (Poultry)

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