By Eveline de Klerk
Aspiring Omaruru farmer Michael Gariseb has raised the bar for resettled farmers by turning his communal farm, Tsaobis, into a flourishing self-sustainable enterprise.
Tsaobis is situated close to Omaruru in the Erongo Region.
The 59-year-old Gariseb, a retired employee of Namibia Air Ports Company, said that despite facing severe challenges such as drought and boundary disputes, he does not regret becoming a full-time farmer.
“It was the best decision I took, to become a full-time farmer. However, I would not have made it without the assistance of government and other resettled farmers,” he says.
Gariseb currently breeds with the sought-after Damara sheep and Boer goat. On top of it all, he has massive crop production, which includes lucerne and various types of vegetables that he also sells to the community.
According to Gariseb, farming became a passion for him when his father years back gave him 17 goats as the father was too old to continue farming.
“However, I was still working at that time and so I asked my father to look after the goats until I got a herder. His words were I should look after them as it is now my responsibility. At that instant I took a decision and resigned from my job and went full time into farming,” Gariseb explains.
Gariseb says that he then heard about the government resettlement scheme and applied for it.
“Eventually my application was successful and I received 2 300 hectares of land in 2011.”
“When I got to the farm there was nothing on it. I had to camp off my piece of farmland, clean existing boreholes and water pipes, and build other infrastructure such as houses and bathroom facilities. It was hard but I made it,” Gariseb adds.
According to Gariseb he knew nothing about breeding and crop production apart from the knowledge he gained from his father.
He says that the secret to successful farming is teamwork, hard work and information sharing among farmers themselves.
When asked why his farm is flourishing during this time of drought, Gariseb says: “We were born in drought and will die in drought. We must take that into consideration, work around it, make use of the assistance from government and seek help from other farmers because together we can achieve many things.”
Gariseb for his hard work and success was awarded a certificate and N$10 000 from the Minister of Land Reform, Uutoni Nujoma, last week during the farmers feedback symposium that was held near Omaruru.
Nujoma whilst handing over the prize to Gariseb urged other farmers to emulate his success story.
“We are resettling Namibians with the aim of contributing to the country’s economy. We want to see flourishing farms like Tsaobis so that they contribute to government’s vision for the country,” Nujoma said.