Dairy production has the potential to be a profitable business opportunity for farmers, such potential has prompted an Okakarara-based businessman to venture fearlessly into an industry that many only dare to enter. Just a few hours before sunset on a sunny Friday afternoon in the town of Okakarara, residents move around non-stop as they scramble to purchase goods before going home for the weekend. But for Jackie Hindjou, closing his dairy shop which he runs with his wife is not on his mind yet.
He soon welcomes our team into his dairy shop for an interview about his journey from being a livestock farmer to being the only formalized dairy farmer in the area-albeit on a small scale for now. Hindjou has moved from being a cattle farmer to start his own diary brand- Ndjoura Farm Fresh Milk under his business- Ndjoura Investments which sells dairy products such as fresh milk, cream and traditional butter. Well, you can be excused for getting into a fantasy land, when listening to how Hindjou passionately describes his journey from cattle farming to dairy farming while at the same time serving as the chair of Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Okakarara branch.
“The decision to start a dairy business was prompted by my drive to start a business that is different from your ordinary businesses such as shebeens and hair salons. I used to buy milk for our house on a daily basis and it prompted me to pursue this venture. All I wanted was a business that is unique and something different from the ordinary,” he remembered vividly. “When we started this business with my wife Namibia Diaries assisted us and gave us a dairy cow and a fridge to help us get the business off the ground, and since then I have not looked back,” he said with a smile on his face while seated next to his wife who nods in agreement to almost everything he says.
When he commenced milk production, Hindjou said he personally took care of feeding his cows and making sure that they are healthy and maintains that producing quality milk is pivotal.
“We had colleagues from NSI [Namibia Standards Institute] and we discussed issues such as the market standards. We also have regular discussions with our local health inspector who gives us tips on how to handle the health and hygiene affairs of our operations. In future we want to supply milk large retail outlets but for that to happen we must have certification and meet certain standards,” he said.
Hindjou also indicated that, when his business is adequately stocked with milk cows, one of the future goals would be to supply the local schools, hospital and police station. “We really want to put up a fully-fledged dairy farm so that we can one day also produce yoghurt straight from Okakarara,” Hidnjou said ambitiously. He asserted that: “We want to be the milk hub in the area where locals can come to and sell their milk. Another goal is also to open outlets in other areas.”
Business in Okakarara
As NCCI branch chair for Okakarara, Hindjou expressed concern over the business climate in the town and called on potential businessmen and investors to venture into unique businesses instead of going for the conventional ones which includes alcohol outlets and supermarkets. He also noted that many businesses in the town do not last because money is not reinvested in the business but is rather used to cater for domestic needs like taking care of the family. “We tend to copy other businesses instead of thinking out of the box. Our people also struggle to manage businesses in a principled way,” he observed when asked why some business outlets in the town do not last.
He also observed that business owners do not invest much into marketing their businesses.
“When I started my dairy business it was a struggle. My wife can attest to our struggles at the start, days would go by without selling a single item. Then one day my wife went for a marketing course and upon her return we paid for a jingle that was played on the radio to promote our business and since then we have not looked back. Stock that would last a day would be sold out in three days, that is the power of marketing,” he narrated.
Hindjou also stressed the need for informal businesses to graduate. “As much as we want this, it can only be achieved if our informal traders are given the platform to do so by providing them with adequate trading places and the needed support. As the NCCI we are there to provide advisory services to our members so that they can grow,” he said.