Former public servant pursues full-time farming – Agriculture

Former public servant pursues full-time farming - Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

Hendrik Motinga quit his job as a labour inspector 10 years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time commercial farmer.

A mentee and loan beneficiary under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme, he said his farming journey started during the early years of his childhood, assisting his parents with daily farming activities.

Today, he rears various breeds of goats and sheep at his commercial farm in the Maltahöhe district near Mariental.

According to him, while working at the labour ministry, he acquired his own livestock and land in a communal area to farm on a part-time basis with the support of his parents.

“I was a permanent employee at the labour ministry for 10 years and in 2010, I resigned to concentrate on my dream and passion, which is farming. I told myself that my farm needs me more than anything else and that is how I ended up in full-time farming.”

Mentorship programme

In early 2017, Motinga acquired a loan from Agribank to purchase a commercial farm. During the same year, he approached the bank again to request mentorship services.

Under the Agribank mentorship programme, Motinga said he acquired knowledge on various farming aspects, ranging from rangeland management, farm management, planning, budgeting, keeping records, farm diversification and the marketing of livestock at the appropriate time and place.

“After going through the mentorship programme, my lambing rate increased significantly from 26 to 50% to 76 to 100%.”

With the advice from the Agribank mentor, he now farms with diverse goat and sheep breeds such as Van Rooy, Meatmaster, white Dorper, Kalahari Red and milk goats, he said.

Motinga now employs five permanent workers and four to eight casual workers during lambing season. His short-term goal is to diversify his farm enterprises and produce all food necessities.

As with any enterprise, he mentioned that he has faced significant challenges such as the severity of the drought in 2019 and the infiltration of predators such as wild cats and jackals that hunt young lambs, causing significant losses.

Motinga graduated from the mentorship programme after a three-year period from 2017 to 2020. He said he always wanted to have land of his own and Agribank assisted him to fulfil this goal.

Adding that the mentorship programme has transformed the way he farms, he urged Agribank to contract additional mentors for more clients to benefit from the programme.

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