Locally produced mushrooms

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing strives to produce fresh, organic and processed Namibian mushrooms.

22 October 2021 | Agriculture

Mariselle Stofberg

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing Close Corporation is a registered Namibian mushroom farm and processing company with the overall objective to cultivate fresh, organic mushrooms and process them into various value-added mushroom products.

They also sell mushroom starter kits and provide short-term practical training on mushroom cultivation and related services.

Abner Ndakalako Tomas, who spearheaded the company, said they started operations on 2 August 2020 in Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region.

“Although we are still not fully functional as per our set vision, we are grateful that we are growing every day,” he said.

Tomas grew up eating wild mushrooms, mostly Panaeolus papilionaceus (Kakalahambo), Terfezia pfeilii (Kalahari Desert truffles/omatumbula), Termitomyces sagittiformis (okahauhwilili/uuhilili), Termitomyces schimperi (Owowa/Oova), and Termitomyces reticulatus (Oshaamuya/Oshihamuya) in northern Namibia.

“These wild mushrooms brought a curiosity in me to understand the life cycle and ecological roles of fungi and mushrooms in the environment. I felt in love and became passionate about domesticated mushroom farming. Now, with very little locally produced fresh mushrooms and value-added mushroom products available year-round in the market, I was motivated to start Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing.”

Giving back

The company is passionate about giving back to the community and plans to provide practical internships and training to vulnerable and disadvantaged Namibians, schools or university students.

They have also awarded one internship to a University of Namibia’s microbiology student.

“We have also collaborated with the Oniipa town council to implement the Oniipa Horticulture Farming Hub Proposal, a community development project, which will benefit youth and the unemployed community in Oniipa and the surrounding areas,” Tomas said.

One of their future plans for the business includes collaborating with trainees on practical mushroom cultivation around Namibia.

“Since they will be producing mushrooms according to our standards, our company will also be buying their fresh mushrooms for our processing department. As a result, we will be promoting sustainability, generating income and employment opportunities, as well as collaborating, networking and exchanging knowledge in Namibia.”

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing currently displays and sells mushroom products and services on social media.

Once ordered, they send products via courier service providers such as taxis, NamCourier or Formula Courier.

“With our practical mushroom cultivation training, we do travel to our trainees if they cannot make it to our farmhouse in Oniipa. When we both cannot make it, our services can be accessed via phone, email or Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Even so, we are planning to develop an e-commerce website and a mobile app where we will be displaying and selling our mushroom products and service online,” Tomas said.

Branching out

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing also aims to have other branches in the central, coastal and southern parts of the country, mainly focusing on mushroom processing.

Their business culture is based on quality products and services accomplished through sustainable farming practices to produce affordable, nutritious and organic mushrooms.

They are driven by providing affordable, nutritious, organic, practical, quality and sustainable products.

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing has also recently renovated their fruiting room to reduce contamination, installed ranks in the colonising and fruiting rooms to increase overall year one mushroom production effectiveness by over 70% per month, developed and implemented standard operation policies and a bought a domain, ndakamushrooms.com, for their e-commerce website and emails.

“Our small-size mushroom fruiting room has affected our production, efficiency and storage capacity in the past and thereby led to inconvenience in our supply chain, but we strive to never allow challenges to keep us from realising our dreams.”

Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing measures success as an entity by looking at their business financial statements. “In addition, we do conduct customer satisfaction surveys and/or reviews from time to time to make sure that our customers are happy with our mushroom products and services we provide. In this way, we listen where and how to satisfy their needs.”

Tomas loves the quote from Steve Jobs that says ‘start small and think big. Do not worry about too many things at once. Take a handful of simple things to begin with, and then progress to more ones that are complex. Think about not just tomorrow, but the future. Put a ding in the universe’.”

“Therefore, for the youth who wish to become entrepreneurs, first begin with the little you have in towns or the city you know well before expanding nationally and conquering as a national business. “Furthermore, avoid the temptation to use political influence to drive the growth of your businesses. Studies have proved that politically influenced businesses are not sustainable nor entrepreneurial; therefore, keep a healthy distance from politics,” he said.

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