A young man feeding the nation

Fighting for a greener Namibia

21 September 2021 | Agriculture

Rivaldo Kavanga

Ndatulumukwa Haikali, known for his passion for agriculture and empowering young people in the agricultural sector, has made great strides in the Namibian agricultural spectrum.

Haikali began his venture into agriculture in 2019 and within a year’s time he has established the organisation Youth in Agriculture.

“The reason I established the organisation is because when most Namibians think of agriculture, images of poor and overworked farmers with crude tools on a rural farm readily come to mind, which is not the case,” says Haikali.

He says young Namibians still think that agribusiness is a poor man’s occupation and that nowadays everybody wants a white-collar office job in the city.

“Agribusiness is hardly on anyone’s mind in the 21st Century,” he states, and it was against this background that he felt the need to start an initiative that would change the image of agriculture among young Namibians, create awareness about profitable economic opportunities and create a pathway for young people to prosper in the agricultural sector, something he is a testimony of. Youth in Agriculture started with only two members and has now increased to 371 active farmers countrywide.

Fighting youth unemployment

Haikali believes that venturing into the untapped agricultural sector of Namibia could prove to be a solution to the country’s growing youth unemployment. Unemployment is a major concern in Namibia because the youth, who constitute the largest population demographic, feel marginalised from the economic mainstream and despite their best efforts find little means to meet their expectations for a better life.

“At the same time, there is a mismatch between graduate skillsets and those sought by employers. Young people with strong technical and innovation skills lack the necessary business acumen to become self-employed,” Haikali says.

The future

Haikali recently launched a community gardening project aimed at enabling communities to produce food, promoting sustainable agriculture and raising awareness of opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Haikali says the future of the Namibian nation is central to his advocacy for the involvement of young people in the agricultural sector. He adds that one of the recent highlights in the agricultural sector is that the government has decided to stop the importation of certain foods as it is believed that Namibian farmers can meet the demand. Additionally, the country has recorded its biggest maize harvest yet, which set a new record of 74 700 tonnes - 45% higher than the previous year’s harvest.

10 Fun facts about Haikali

I am the author of three books.

I love cooking and trying new recipes.

Knowledgeable about the history, culture and tradition of the Ovambo people.

I am a teetotal.

I have a collection of coins, notes and the soil of every country I travelled to.

I travel for fun.

My last meal on earth would be a dessert.

I have never attended a music concert or a show.

I love red ties.

I like being indoors.