- South African farmland is in the spotlight at the moment as the country finally begins to look at how to deal with the inequalities due to previous land scarcity and forced removals
- Another important issue at the heart of many in South Africa is employment, with South Africans facing the real prospect of finding themselves unable to find work
- One IT professional has quit his job as a technician to focus on farming his family land due to what he has found is a deep rooted love of farming within his soul
Briefly.co.za has seen an increase of people posting on twitter and other social media about successful black farmers.
One of the stories which caught our eye was that of Kagiso Ntloedibe who is so enthused about farming, he quit a job as an information technology (IT) technician.
This was a bold move, to focus on farming when few people would give up work of any kind, especially to embark on an activity as fraught with potential stumbling blocks as farming.
However, the 29-year-old moved back from GaRankuwa, north of Pretoria, to his maternal home in Hammanskraal to work on the land of his ancestors, and it seems to be paying off.
The young man with a dream and a heart of a farmer studied IT as an undergraduate and then studied project management to further his skills and enhance his prospects of finding employment.
Soon after finding employment he realised the land was calling to him. He could no longer deny that farming was his calling, so began to take steps to follow his passion.
First he had to change his whole life. "I quit my job in 2014 to focus on my farm," he said, but realised quite soon that he needed cash in order to follow his dream. Ntloedibe explained that it cost him a lot to set up his farm, Bashumi Fresh Produce. "You need money for preparing the land, for irrigation and for borehole water,” he explained, “because obviously, you can't farm without water.”
"I needed to source money from somewhere, so the little money that I get from IT was used to develop the farm."
Using the skills developed from his studies he started his own IT company, Mushumo IT Solutions, to help fund his farm. Reportedly spending R60000 on just the first phase of developing the land for farming.
He said he had little help from government. "We love our government, but it is very hard to get funding from them. Sometimes I don't even have money to travel from Hammanskraal to government offices, so I rely on myself," he said.
Ntloedibe explains that his passion for farming had developed while he was still a child. "When I was still a kid we had a small garden in which my parents grew carrots, cabbages and spinach."
When his mother inherited land from her grandmother in Hammanskraal, he kept
pestering her for permission to farm on it until she eventually agreed to let him. He said she is very happy about his decision to work the family land. “ My family keeps me going; she even helps me with research even though she is busy working," he said.
To prepare for his role as a framer and increase his chances of success, Ntloedibe also went back to studying. He did a course on hydroponic houses at the Agriculture Research Council and drew on what he had learned to build a business that now supplies vendors in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, and the Johannesburg and Tshwane fresh produce markets with spinach, butternut, cabbage, pumpkin, squash and spring onions.
Ultimately though, he said the goal is to have hydroponic houses, which will allow him to grow the high-end crops sought after by the luxury food market.
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