From public servant to full-time farmer
Hendrik Motinga, an Agribank mentee and loan beneficiary under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme, quit his formal job as a labour inspector ten years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time commercial farmer.
Motinga, who studied law, said his farming journey started during his early 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 ministry of labour, he acquired his own livestock and land in a communal area to farm on a part-time basis with the support of his parent.
“I was a permanent employee at the ministry of labour for 10 consecutive 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's how I ended up here,” says Motinga as he explained his journey into full-time farming.
In early 2017, he acquired a loan from Agribank to purchase a commercial farm. During the same year, he approached the bank again to request for mentorship services. He was enrolled in Agribank's free mentorship programme and attached to Agribank's mentor for the Hardap region.
Under the Agribank mentorship programme, 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, Motinga said.
“I applaud Agribank for having a mentorship programme of this magnitude. It is a step in the right direction and one can really appreciate Agribank for initiating this.
“In fact, after going through mentorship programme, my lambing rate has increased significantly from 26-50% to 76-100%. Motinga further mentioned that during lambing season he has witnessed more lambs in his camps, as he shared his mentorship testimony. With advice from the Agribank mentor, he now farms with diverse goat and sheep breeds such as Van Rooy, Meatmaster, White Dorper sheep and goat breeds such as Kalahari Red and milk goats.
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 the food he needs on his farm. As with any enterprise, he has however faced significant challenges such as the severity of the drought in 2019 and the infiltration of predators. Wild cats and jackals that hunt young lambs cause significant losses, he said.
Motinga recently graduated from the mentorship programme after being enrolled for a 3-year period from 2017 to 2020. He expressed that he always wanted to have land of his own and Agribank has assisted him to fulfill this goal. He further expressed that the mentorship programme has transformed the way he farms from the mindset to practical farming.
Motinga urged Agribank to take on additional mentors for more clients to benefit from this important programme.
* Article contributed by Rino Muranda of Agribank.