Covid-19 accelerated commercial farming dreams for Namibian entrepreneur

Many Namibians regularly supplement their monthly income with some kind of part-time agricultural activity. However, financial planner Aubrey Hardine has had a new inspiration, partly brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, to evolve his small-scale farm into a full-fledged commercial operation.

Hardine, who is gradually swapping the boardroom for the tractor, currently has some 0.3 hectares of land under pumpkin cultivation, which he intends to expand to one hectare by August this year. This, he said, is his bid to contribute in the reduction of the country’s over reliance on fruit and vegetable imports. These imports, mostly from South Africa, in 2019 totalled an astronomical US$59.56 million.

“Covid-19 showed us the fragility of our food security but I see the pandemic as an opportunity for Namibia to utilise farmland productively to increase our food security. If we as Namibians support our local farmers, then that is how we can grow the agricultural industry to become food secure. If we all buy local fresh produce, imagine what that will do to our GDP,” Hardine stated.

As a full-time financial planner, Hardine had to rope in expert farming advice, which he admits was not an easy feat. After searching high and low, he eventually secured valuable mentorship and recently harvested and marketed five tons of pumpkins, for which he secured supply to local retailers towards the end of last year.

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