- Ryno Coetzee & Owendardo
- Windhoek, Khomas, Namibia
When, Why, & How I started start worming
My friend and current business partner started exploring the Vermicompost scene in 2019. He is a garden enthusiast, and introduced me to his research. It was the first time I heard about the concept of Vermicomposting and worm farming.
There was something about worm farming and vermicomposting that drew my attention. My family and I then moved from my native country Namibia, to Botswana on a work contract. During 2021, while living in Botswana I started my first worm farm (actually is was just a bathtub with a few worms) After watching numerous YouTube videos and research online we managed to sort of get the hang of what and what not to feed the worms – What type of conditions they like and don’t like etc. Our family moved back to Namibia at the beginning of April 2022 in pursuit of our Calling and Purpose. I am a firm believer in Biblical principles and passionate about not only making a difference in the life of the less fortunate, but also being the difference in my community. My wife and I currently work with underprivileged and less fortunate people. This is part of our calling and purpose. We are serving at an organisation in Windhoek, Namibia called Khomas Homeless Development Organisation (KHDO). The purpose of KHDO is to provide the homeless and needy with basic needs, necessary skills and training to become empowered, self-sufficient and independent individuals in order to reduce poverty and contribute to the economic growth of Namibia. My business partner and I recently (June 2022) registered a business (Kingdom Organics Trading) to commercialize our interest in organic fertilizers (Regular compost and Vermicompost) and I am hoping that the resources from the business can support the work we do for the underprivileged and less fortunate. At this moment the business is still in its infancy stages and revenue is very minimal.
Our setup is: I stay about 100KM from our main production area (the worm stations are based on the farm where my business partner leases some property). I keep a bathtub in our backyard to breed worms and then we transport the worms to the production area.
The idea is to grow the business in order to provide resources supporting our calling and purpose. We are also working on a project to provide a holistic and sustainable solution for the restoration of vulnerable and underprivileged individuals. Vermicompost and worm farming will definitely play a significant role in the agricultural pillar of the project. We currently supply 4 retailers with Vermicompost and regular compost. The plan is to increase supply to 10 retailers next year. Sales volume is targeted at 13800(KG) combined for both regular compost and vermicompost . In 2024 we would like to increase supply to 20 retailers and total sales volume is targeted at 55200 (KG). We are still working out our pricing module so we do not want to over or underestimate our revenue numbers.
Biggest Lesson Learned
The hardest lesson for me is realizing the impact of not having a mentor during the initial phases of the journey. Someone that has done this before that can journey with you especially during the early stages. Someone that can help you and direct you around the pitfalls. Someone that can advise on some of the challenges like:
- Challenge with Scaling – Worms are limited in Namibia and sourcing food for the worms is also limited
- Awareness of the product – In Namibia vermicomposting is not very common – so how do you create and grow a market for the product?
- Human resource – we currently do a lot of the work ourselves with some additional part-time help since we cannot afford to employ full time employees.
I believe that having a mentor could have helped us to be more efficient and effective.
I Wish I Knew Earlier
The importance of having a Mentor.
My Worm People Wish
We are hoping that worm farming will grow to such an extent that it will empower the less fortunate and underprivileged by providing business opportunities and food security. Worm farming supported by organic fertilizers will help to provide a holistic and sustainable solution for the restoration of vulnerable and underprivileged individuals.
I also see opportunities to collaborate with other agricultural organisations that have a passion for farming, gardening and the less fortunate to multiply the impact. It is also beneficial to the wider community as food prices keep increasing and this can encourage people to start their own vegetable and fruit gardens.