Cando Farming – a success story
The Hochfeld area is home to Cando Farming which not many know produces substantial amounts of onions and potatoes for the Namibian market every year.
Farm owner Ludie Kolver started off in 1985 as a cattle farmer, a venture which he was successful in, but Kolver harboured the ambition of producing more than meat. When NamPower started supplying electricty to his farms Okamahapu and Swartkroon in 1993, Kolver realised that this was his opportunity to start experimenting with potatoes and onions. It was also at that stage that the farms underwent a name change to Cando Farming, which is taken from the phrase “We can do it with the help of God.”
At the beginning potatoes were cultivated on two hectares but this was expanded annually so that today it stands at 150 hectares. The same applied for the cultivation of onions and today, Cando Farming produces 37 hectares of onions. Kolver says plans are underway to add another 13 hectares by next year. “During the years we went through a learning process which cost us a lot of money but today we are proud of our products and to be part of that small group that produces vegetables for the nation,” Kolver said.
The marketing period for potatoes runs from middle November to the end of July, during which time Cando Farming loads 38 tonnes of potatoes every day. “For eight months we deliver potatoes to Fruit and Veg, Fresh Mark, U-Save, Checkers, City Produce and central wholesalers. We have two delivery trucks and a depot in Windhoek for fast and efficient service to the clients,” Kolver tells Namibian Sun.
“Our average yield per hectare is between 40 and 50 tonnes and the starting cost is between N$80 000 and N$100 000 per hectare. The total annual potato production is 7 000 tonnes which is made up of 700 000 ten kilogram pockets.” Kolver says that at this stage, no potatoes are exported to South Africa, but they are looking into exporting to Angola during the next season.
The export of onions to South Africa however started in 1995. The marketing period for the about 3 000 tonnes of onions is from August to October. “During the three months we deliver about 70 tonnes of onions daily to the different markets.” According to Kolver the local onion market is very small, making the fact that exports to Angola are foreseen for the future good news.
When asked what he thinks are some of the secrets to successful farming, Kolver stressed the fact that a good relationship should exist between the employer and his employees. “We have to respect one another and if a problem crops up it should be solved. You need hardworking and dedicated employees, hence the need for employees to be treated well,” Kolver said.