Akapandi shows the way

25 July 2018 | Agriculture

Businessman John Akapandi Endjala of the J&P Group has turned his 10-hectare mahangu field at his homestead at Okapya village into an orchard to supply his hotel establishments with the produce.

After realising his mahangu field was no longer producing high volumes of mahangu, he decided to turn the field on the outskirts of Ondangwa into a garden.

In 2015 he started an orchard, where he planted 700 mango, lemon and orange trees.

“For the past few years I have been working hard on this land, but I could not get the usual volume of mahangu we used to get due to climate change. I then decided to turn the field into a garden to supply produce to my hotel establishments. I started with fruit trees in 2015 and they have shown me good results and next year I will start planting vegetables,” Endjala said.

He said he bought the fruit trees from the ministry of agriculture's nursery at Grootfontein and employed two gardeners, who are taking care of the orchard.

The J&P Group has four lodges - the Ekamuti Town Lodge in Ondangwa, the Toko Kamanjab Lodge at Kamanjab, Shikamasha Lodge near the Etosha National Park and the Endjala Traditional Village at Okapya, where the orchard is situated.

“We supply all these lodges with fruit from here and they are of good quality. This is saving us the extra costs of buying fruit to supply our clients. That is why we are planning to have a vegetable garden to feed our clients by ourselves,” he said.

Endjala introduced the orchard to environment minister Pohamba Shifeta when inaugurated the Endjala Traditional Village this month.

Shifeta was impressed by Endjala's work and he invited other mahangu field owners to emulate his idea.

“This is a brilliant idea and worth emulating. The effects of climate change are today a reality. Rainfall has declined and we are now starting to see changes in when we receive rainfall and how long it lasts for. Our mahangu fields have become less productive. We must work hard and ensure that we produce at least 30% of our food consumption,” Shifeta said.

Endjala started doing business in 1995 with his wife Penny and today the J&P Group has grown into a formidable business, venturing into food production, catering, infrastructure and leisure.

Last year the Meat Board of Namibia presented the J&P Group with Seal of Quality award, because of its meat production facilities at Ondangwa.

The Meat Board was impressed by the J&P meat processing facility, which was the first facility of its kind north of the veterinary cordon fence to receive the Seal of Quality.

Achieving the award speaks to the ability of the J&P Group to comply with the set of rules of basic meat hygiene.

The Seal of Quality programme was developed to provide consumers purchasing meat products at these certified facilities the assurance that the products are safe, wholesome, of a good quality and professionally presented.

The Meat Board has undertaken to include the J&P Group in its advertising campaign, which will increase its customer base.

The board annually audits the facility to ensure it is compliant.

It also assists staff members to improve the quality of meat and the products.