Namibia: From Civil Servant to Flourishing Farmer

Siranda Haitewa quit his full-time job as a transport officer at the trade ministry for greener pastures and he is reaping the fruit of his sacrifice.

Haitewa's horticulture business journey started with the construction of some rental rooms for accommodation. He was later prompted to start a vegetable garden, as a lot of people in Nkurenkuru town started venturing into the business area of accommodation and the competition intensified as a result.

"Venturing into horticulture was the only solution to hunger because everybody needs food to eat. Also, producing vegetables can take only three months then you get back the money you have invested in," he narrated.

He also added that street vendors in Nkurenkuru used to travel long distances to buy vegetables for consumers, which prompted him to chip in by relieving them from spending a lot on transport costs.

"Most of the street vendors used to travel to Tsumeb or Rundu, as there was not even a garden where they can easily get a tomato or cabbage. So, I decided, let me start so that our local people can get their vegetables closer to home," he shared.

He further stated that he foresaw the town was growing and people will need food on a daily basis; hence, establishing a vegetable garden was a solution to the people's demand.

Through his business, he supplies, among others, onions, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes and butternuts to AMTA and other shops like OK Foods and Woermann Brock in Rundu.

Haitewa also stated that apart from food and financial security, farming requires passion and patience.

"To be a farmer, you have to like it first. When you love it, then you have to commit and then everything will be easy for you," he stated.

He added, "There are some challenges when it comes to the growing process; some of the vegetables take up to three months to grow and you need to be present always. You need time."

Haitewa, however, stated his main challenge in running the business is the issue of water because he is connected to the town council because he does not own his borehole.

Haitewa, who also serves as the chairperson of the Association of the Horticulture Producers in Kavango West, said that after visiting some gardens in the region, it is evident that the gardeners are trying amidst challenges such as lack of training.

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