It may be a rumour that Namibian Easter bunnies prefer to eat carrots from Oshivelo Farming on the border between Etosha National Park and Onguma Nature Reserve. However, it is not a rumour that a large part of all vegetables consumed in Namibia are from the cultivation around Oshivelo Farming.
The nucleus of this project for sustainable development promotion is the Onguma Nature Reserve, which borders the Etosha National Park immediately to the east and offers accommodation in five exceptional lodges and camps as well as on two campsites. Onguma owner, John Vorster recruited a large number of his staff from Oshivelo, and thus also learnt of the worries and hardships that form part of the local community. An unemployment rate of 60%, and no prospects beyond tourism.
It was at this point that the interests of Onguma owner John Vorster and Namibian farmer Jan Cronje crossed paths in 2012 when he had the idea of cultivating a 500-hectare plot of land in the Onguma Reserve for vegetable cultivation. The ‘Oshivelo Farming’ project was born.
Whoever visits Oshivelo Farm today can hardly imagine the hard work the farm couple Jan and Lizette Cronje have put in. Especially since their partner, John Vorster’s main concern in his commitment was to give the locals work and bread on the table, as he emphasizes in retrospect: “Our main concern was to create jobs on a large scale for the community of Oshivelo. This approach ruled out the possibility of cultivating the soil using large agricultural machinery. On the contrary. Manpower was and is in demand.
Today, Oshivelo Farming permanently employs 250 villagers and 100 seasonal workers at harvest peak time. The year-round product range includes carrots, beetroot, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, corn, pumpkin, broccoli and papayas. “Currently, four hundred tons of vegetables are sold on the Namibian market every month. The customers range from large supermarket groups such as Woolworths, Spar, Checkers and Food Lovers Market to local traders in the Oshivelo catchment area” as farmer Jan Cronje proudly emphasizes. Guest of Onguma will enjoy the freshet vegetables and fruit of Oshivelo during their safari stay in any of the lodges or camps.
For John Vorster, this Oshivelo success story is a master plan for how he sees national and international development promotion: “The primary goal of development policy must be to create jobs and income – and not to distribute alms as a charity”.
Especially in times of crisis like we are facing today when tourism is suffering in Namibia too, and many employees are being laid off, the concept of Onguma owner, John Vorster is proving its worth, because Oshivelo Farming offers secure jobs, provides the basis for a healthy diet for the entire population and – last but not least – ensures the tireless and punctual work of the Namibian Easter Bunnies with a rich carrot harvest.
If you would like to know more about this project and if your clients are interested in visiting Oshivelo, please contact Onguma
Most certainly we will gladly come to your assistance: Hella@sabela-africa.com
With these good news, we from Sabela Africa wish you all