From Run Down Fields to Viable Commercial Farm

BESIDES her long standing political background as a former parliamentarian, she is also one of the country’s most successful female farmers for almost 30 years.

She was presented with the Emerging Farmer of the Year Award in 2006 and believes in running her farm as a business by viewing her livestock as “dollars and cents on four legs.” This is the motto with which she has been successfully managing her farming business “Farm Tennessee” in the heart of the Omaheke Region.

Her financial journey started back in the year 2000 when Clara Bohitile bought unused land some 90 kilometers south west of Gobabis. She acquired a Standard Bank business loan to upgrade the water points for her livestock and for human consumption. “This was a good investment for me because I wanted to not only make the farm habitable, but also wanted to upgrade the farming facilities like the water tank, dams, a borehole, solar system and water troughs for my livestock,” says Bohitile who farms with Brahman and Beef Master cattle, and recently added Sussex bulls and game. As a farmer with a lot of patience and zeal it took her four years to complete this upgrading task before she could venture on.

Her farming business grew to such an extent that in 2012 she decided to apply for another business loan to further enhance the water facilities, set up additional boreholes equipped with solar pumps and facilities to accommodate guests and a campsite for hunters.

Having moved over the years from being a part-time communal farmer to that of a full-time commercial farmer Bohitile believes in a hands-on approach to her business. She takes to heart that Namibian farmers should view themselves as business people rather than as emerging food producers in order to leverage the support of financial services and create sustainable and profitable enterprises.

“Treat your farm as a business because livestock are the dollars and cents on four legs. That in a nutshell is the value of a farming business. This kind of business is also not for the feint-hearted because it is tough work and you have to arm yourself with the knowledge, understanding and skills of this industry,” adds Bohitile.

“Arm yourself with the relevant knowledge in order to get the right price for your animals at auctions and abattoirs, ensure that your farm is productive by having enough calves and lambs to carry your farming business, know how to manage your farm in times of drought, a loan always helps to get you going provided that you pay it off by running your farm well – at the end of the day, a farm needs to be productive in order to pay for its own expenses,” concludes Bohitile.

Source : The Namibian