Dynamic couple Erastus and Twapewa Kadhikwa are proving once again that not even the sky is the limit, with a new addition to their business empire – an egg-producing and marathon chicken farm. The couple who own the renowned Xwama Cultural Village and Traditional Restaurant, which is well-known for its traditional chicken, among other dishes, spoke to Namibian Sun in an exclusive interview about their new venture.
“My husband and I are the king and queen of poultry and we intend to stay on top of this venture. It was God’s plan, it was our destiny for us to go into this direction and it just makes absolute sense since we are in the food business,” said an excited Twapewa. She said she had to employ managers at Xwama so she can give her full attention to the new business, which she says she totally loves. According to Twapewa, the idea to start the Kadhikwa Live Chicken Farm came as a result of Xwama’s rapid growth.
She and her husband saw an opportunity two years ago to buy the farm just 20 kilometers north of Windhoek in the Brakwater area. “We saw an opportunity after Xwama had recapitalised to cater to our growing market at the time, and since our traditional chicken has become a brand of its own, we decided to grab the opportunity to buy the farm so that we can control the production of our own chicken,” said Twapewa, who is the director for administration and strategic planning.
She said they decided to do something when they realised that depending on suppliers was not viable. She said sometimes suppliers let them down and this was not only disappointing to their customers, but also to them, as it is their livelihood.
Finding the Niche
After the couple made the decision to enter the industry, she did all the research she needed to do. Twapewa went to South Africa for a course on chicken farming.
“I went to the Namibia Statistics Agency and found out that Namibians consume over one million eggs per month, but the country only produces under 40% of that amount. Eggs are a staple food and finding out these numbers just convinced us even further to do this,” she said. She said Namibia is challenged in various areas, but these are challenges that can be faced and tackled.
“We have industries such as this that is not that complicated, and they can work. We have a country that has hungry entrepreneurs. People need to know that opportunities only belong to those who take them,” said Twapewa, who added that she is passionate about entrepreneurship.
According to Erastus, who is the operation’s director, although the farm was started to initially to support their other business, it has grown so much that it has its own identity, with a daily distribution of live and slaughtered marathon chickens.
He said slaughtering is a centralised process and on a production day the farm can slaughter and package up to 1 000 birds per day, and also sell separately packaged offal sold in three to five kilogram packs. Orders for birds – both live and slaughtered – come in and deliveries are done a day after the order.
Live birds are also sold at most of the open markets in Katutura and those that remain unsold are taken back to the farm. “Delivery is the side-offering in Windhoek for orders above ten birds. We are also suppliers to several popular restaurants, as well as 25 outlets in Katutura. Every Wednesday we deliver eggs to supermarkets and mini-shops in Khomasdal and Otjomuise,” said Erastus. The farm also supplies birds to Oranjemund, Swakopmund, Lüderitz, Eenhana, Oshikuku and Otjiwarongo. Operations on the farm start at 03:00, with the collection of eggs and birds for delivery.
The couple said they owe a lot to their mentor Eckhardt Waldschmidt of Waldschmidt Chicken, who opened his home and office to them and showed them the ropes in terms of poultry farming. “He shared his knowledge of the industry and facilitated in terms of hands-on learning that took place, and we continue to learn from him. We would never have done this without him and we cannot take the glory without him,” they said. Other mentors who advised and encouraged them from day one include President-elect, Hage Geingob and his wife Monica Geingos as well as fellow business personalities, Kauna Ndilula and Abius Akwaake.
EMPLOYMENT AND EMPOWERMENT
She said employment creation is also one of their biggest goals and the farm so far has 48 employees, of which 40 are women. In total they employ 108 people in their various businesses. The couple said continuous training and development are priorities in empowering their employees.
“The employees you have are better than those you don’t have, so we make sure to develop and empower our employees who all come from the most impoverished areas in the informal settlements. Training is very important and continuous and we cannot over emphasise the importance of hygiene, especially in this industry,” said Twapewa.
She said employees sometimes don’t have the understanding of the environment and hygiene, and this why training is continuous.
“Every egg that is lost or any bird that dies is a loss. Hygiene is of utmost importance because if one bird gets sick then your whole flock dies, so we have to make sure our workers are skilled in all these issues,” she said.
Meanwhile, another opportunity has presented itself – a vegetable garden on the same farm. “We had so much manure from the birds that we thought ‘why not start a garden since the restaurant also needs vegetables’. So we started the spinach and pepper garden and it has grown beyond our imagination. We are even supplying spinach to Shoprite and other supermarkets, as well as individuals. God is truly great and we are so blessed beyond words,” said Twapewa, while lovingly looking at her proud husband.
For information and order contact farm manager, Angelica at 0814519391 or Erastus at 0811283630 or Twapewa at 0811242363.
WINDHOEK NAMENE HELMICH