- A female poultry farmer from Durban shares how the KZN floods have affected her agricultural business
- The resilient woman has overcome many challenges with her company and notes that although she may struggle, she’ll never give up
- Thando Magane has had many ups and downs as the founder of Fresh Nest Farming Consultants but always manages to bounce back through her determination
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A Durban-based female poultry farmer says that the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have wreaked havoc on her farming business.
Speaking to Briefly News, Thando Magane, owner and director of the Fresh Nest Farming Consultants company, said that she and her workers are still cleaning the areas of her business that were affected.
“At the moment, we are still cleaning up, the clean-up is itself is a cost. The floods have caused a lot of damage as structures got destroyed and chickens died. I have lost 90% of what I have worked for over the nine years of being in farming,” she said.
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Thando previously told Sowetan LIVE that the floods led to her losing more than 20 000 chickens, and she will need around R1.9 million to rebuild her two farms and an additional R1.2 million to buy more chickens. She explained:
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“We are left with 1 200 birds, and they are not even giving us 50% production, so I have decided to sell them as culls because taking care of them has become a very expensive exercise. To get back in operation on all the farms, I will need to have at least R3 million, which will not even be 100% operation."
The farmer, who previously had nine employees, now only has four and notes that it pains her to see her workers sitting at home. She also took to Twitter post about the state of her business.
“At this point, there is nothing much I can do to help my employees, or even myself, for that matter,” she added.
Resilience under pressure
The mother-of-one said that despite the floods, she would not give up trying to rebuild her farm and wants to make her young daughter proud.
“My daughter and everyone else who looks up to me and believes in me motivates me. I want to pave the way for my daughter and build a Magane legacy. I am not giving up. Even if it means I start from scratch, I will. I have done it before, and I will do it again,” she added.
Thando is not afraid of hard work or getting her hands dirty. She often posts snaps and videos of herself on the farm doing manual labour.
Starting from scratch
The entrepreneur is no stranger to starting over and rebuilding, quitting her job in a bank to start a self-funded farming business in 2013. But her success was short-lived, with Fresh Nest Farming Consultants quickly getting into debt.
“I lost focus because I thought I had made it and had enough money, so I didn’t need to be full-time at the farm,” she admitted.
In 2017, her farming business was also terribly affected by the Bird-flu outbreak, and she lost a lot of her chickens.
“Avian influenza (bird-flu) was already attacking most farms, and mine was one of them, so I lost focus at the wrong time,” she added.
Thando then decided to hit the ground running and invested more time in the physical running of her farms, obtaining funding to rebuild the company.
Sacrifices and hard work
The farmer notes that she needed to make many sacrifices to get her farming company back on track after her first major setback in 2017.
“I had to first accept my mistakes, then I went back to the drawing board. I worked twice as hard, to a point where I even sold mealies with my bakkie and saved every cent. I struggled a lot to get back on my feet and had to sacrifice a lot. I had to give up many things, such as meaningless meetings in restaurants,” she added.
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Struggles of being a female farmer
Thando explains her struggles as a woman in the male-dominated agricultural sector and notes that some people assume that ladies in this field don’t know how to run successful farms:
“It’s challenging being a woman in this industry, you find people who judge you for being a woman before they even see your work. Some believe there is someone else behind your work, and you are just the face of the company, meaning because you are a woman, you are not capable of running a farm."
However, Thando continues to persevere and believes that she will overcome the travesty caused by the KZN floods through hard work, tenacity and, of course, funding.
Advice for female farmers
The resilient woman has also trained other young farmers and notes that women should be steadfast if they want to make it in the agricultural sector.
“[Female farmers should] work hard, focus, and know that everything you start is for yourself. Make your work speak for itself. Never stop!”
Cape Town lady thrives in the male-dominated farming sector and inspires young women to take on agriculture
In a related story by Briefly News, a young hun from Cape Town is thriving in the agricultural sector after farming for only two years.
After closing her takeaway business during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, Khayelitsha resident, Ncumisa Mkabile started farming. This boss babe believes that young people should create opportunities for themselves instead of waiting for handouts.
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Source: Briefly News