…An exclusive interview with Esegiel Karinomuinjo Nguvauva
HAILING from the Ovitoto area in the Omatako constituency and having won the prestigious award for 2016 in a highly contested category, Esegiel Nguvauva recently walked away with the title of Communal Producer of the year at the Meatco producer awards. Confidente caught up with him to find out more about his journey.
How does it feel to be the Meatco communal producer of the year?
I am exceedingly grateful; it is indeed a tremendous honour to be acknowledged by such an esteemed, prestigious organisation like Meatco. Words are not even enough to describe my inner excitement. It was humbling to grace that spectacular evening with a great reputable farmer like Dirk Uys from Omaheke region and others. What made it more exceptional for receiving three producer awards was the fact that I am communal farmer from a very small drought-prone and mountainous communal settlement of Ovitoto, as oppose to the other nominees from greater parts of other regions.
Tell more about you….Who is Esegiel Nguvauva?
Esegiel (aka) Karinomuinjo Nguvauva is a very humble village boy who was born in Ondamekondo village, in Ovitoto settlement in Omatako Constituency. Ever since I was a young boy, I had a great passion for farming and I had a dream to become a successful farmer one day. Since being recently acknowledged as a communal producer of the year, my dream is finally becoming a reality.
Tell us about how you became a farmer?
As I have alluded to earlier I had a dream to become a farmer one day, and I have to thank God for his grace. Once you have a dream you have to work towards that dream and be positive about it and once you are positive and steadfast about your dream, hopefully the results shall be positive. In a nutshell, I grew up in the village herding goats and looking after cattle. Everything was just about farming those days.
What are the challenges that you face as a producer?
Farming in a disorganised environment without modernised agricultural structures is a real night mare. I am farming in a small squeezed mountainous, overgrazed and drought-stricken communal area of Ovitoto. Being a meat producer you have no control over the movement of your livestock, because they are grazing freely some times as far as three villages from where you reside. Stock theft is something that you are forced to live with because of the prevailing circumstances. You have no proper control as far as diseases are concerned as opposed to those farming in modern structures like commercial or resettlement farms.
Honestly, the impact of natural phenomenon like droughts and diseases is completely not comparable. The rainfall in my area is insufficient, even the recent rainfall is below 200 mm at my village, it will not sustain my livestock after July 2017. Whilst other farmers from Omaheke region and parts of Otjozondjupa to mention but a few are exceedingly jubilant about 2016-2017 rainfall, said to be above 800 mm I am fearing another catastrophic drought. Drought in Ovitoto is an annual occurrence to be quite frank with you. I am currently anxious about the survival of my few oxen I am attempting to garner for the next auction to Meatco; the future does not look glorious as a result of insufficient rain we received.
What assistance do you receive from organisations such as Meatco as you try to do your work and sell animals?
Meatco as a company operating on business principles, is extremely generous as it ploughs back to its producers annually. I realised that Meatco is not purely a profit-driven organisation but it has displayed a huge desire to assist the farmers to improve their livestock for the betterment of our meat industry. The benefits are enormous apart from a bull of my choice I received a cash price and other incentives. These generous rewards will assist me to improve my farming and contribute to the socio-economic development of my beloved country, despite being landless.
Please share more about your production, your livestock and farm.
I am determined to contribute to the meat industry as I am doing now and by extension complement my Government efforts towards Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan. As a citizen I have a social obligation to contribute to the development of my country, no matter how small my contribution will be, I am following the notion that says don’t ask what your country can do for you but ask what you as an individual can do for your country.
I strongly believe that if we pull together in the same direction as our President says, we will achieve more as a country. I do not do farming to receive personal gratification but to make a difference in other people’s lives too in terms of employment because I have my brothers who earn a salary from me and they too have families to support. I do farming to contribute to the meat industry and by extension to the economy of Namibia. My dream is to grow my farming and expand my productivity and contribute to job creation. If I am fortunate to get a better and bigger farm you will be amazed by my production. I have a dream to grow and contribute to the meat industry, and a great urge to diversify and explore other farming opportunities.
Were you affected by the droughts over the last few years? If yes please share your experiences.
Yes, as mentioned earlier you hardly escape drought as long as you are a farmer in Ovitoto communal settlement due to its multiple complications. I have a bag of receipts from Agra, Kaap-Agri and Animal Fedco of licks and fodder that I used to purchase. There is a monthly budget for my livestock, you will hardly find me buying clothes for myself.
How do you view your growth in the next five years?
I am positively looking forward, forward ever backward never, that’s my slogan. As long as I am alive I shall cherish my dream, especially in farming I have a great passion for farming and I shall pursue my dream. I have a strong support base which is my wife Ursula and my brothers at the farm, Simon Petrus and Sem. We shall mount those Ovitoto mountains together in the absence of any other better farm. If I want to go faster I will go alone but seriously I opted to go far, therefore I shall hold their hands and go together for the betterment of our country.
Any words of inspiration to upcoming communal farmers?
My brothers and sisters I do not want to scare you but farming in this arid country of us is not ideal for those who are soft hearted, period. Farming needs human and financial resources and above all a sense of perseverance and physical presence at times. Farming is not a get rich-quicker business but is a long thorny journey and it will exhaust you financially and also be rewarding after some years. You will sell your animals when you don’t want to, and get a miserable price after spending more. Farming can be more enjoyable when everything is green but also be very stressful when grazing diminishes. You eat a lot of Onyama (meat) mbuae, you may drink plenty of Omaere (sour milk), then tjevera ondjeke (gout). Think and think twice before venturing into farming particularly, in the communal area of Ovitoto. If you are lucky to buy a commercial or get a resettlement farm make use of that opportunity to prosper.
A small thinker sees the problem but a big thinker sees the opportunity. A small thinker sees the cost but a big thinker sees the reward. A small thinker expects failure but a big thinker expects success. Don’t count how much it will cost you but how much it will reward you.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015