DIVUNDU – Between Divundu and Popa village is a place where Kapata Medosa has established a garden with a variety of vegetables. Not having a job spurred the 36-year-old Ndongo villager in Kavango East to venture into vegetable gardening.
For many years now Kapata has been a dedicated vegetable farmer.
Speaking to New Era, Kapata said he started planting vegetables in his backyard in 2007 to make a living and stopped in 2011 to seek employment in the south of the country.
But he ended up working in a grape plantation which according to him was not worth the distance from home. “After two years I decided to come back to continue with my own gardening and be close to my family,” he narrated.
Kapata is the sole breadwinner for five of his offspring and he also has to provide for other extended family members at Ndongo village.
“I provide for my family and decided to have a garden because I never made it in school and employment is hard to find for a guy who only went up to Grade 9 like me. That is the main reason why many young people are unemployed because they never excelled in school or they just didn’t finish school,” he said as a matter of fact.
Since the garden is on a fertile piece of land on the banks of the Kavango River, water is always available for his crops.
Kapata mainly plants cabbages, tomatoes, onions and other veggies which he sells to the local community and prices differ. Cabbages are sold according to size but he insists his prices are reasonable considering people in Ndongo are not high earners while others don’t earn a regular monthly income.
“Some people come to buy veggies in bulk to go resell elsewhere for a profit. I am slowly able to sustain my family and my garden business is better than just sitting idle at home,” he said.
In summer he opts to plant summer crops but mainly maize, and despite being close to the river the only setback is hippos that graze at night and often devour his veggies and at times they just trample his crops on their way to the river. Because of this challenge Kapata was compelled to erect a fence around his vegetable garden to protect his garden from hippos.
Kapata said he wants local business people to sell different seeds that he together with others could use to plant more veggies.
“I also want to be part of the green scheme project one day and be trained to be a small-scale farmer. But for now this is my only way of making a decent honest living,” says Kapata.