Despite the challenges that farming may bring there is nothing else that 61-year-old farming mentor Barend "Barry" Nel would rather do than to be in the open air with muddied boots, working the soil. He believes that farming is in his genes, and he promises that he would never dissert it, even if he was offered an office job in Sandton.
Growing up on a farm in the Free State, 29-year-old Chrisjan van Tonder always knew that he would one day feed the nation. However, when the time came to take over and become the third generation to assume responsibility for the family farm, it was unexpected and under challenging circumstances.
The vegetable farmer is passionate about youth development and has grown her business, based in Rustenburg in North West, from subsistence to commercial level. Teke’s produce has gone on to benefit various families and schools in her community, and she also supplies a local lodge.
Four years ago, a freshly graduated Thabang Makola worked as a customer assistant at Woolworths. The Bachelor of Science in agriculture that he obtained from the University of Limpopo the year before was lying fallow. A customer, surprised to see his avid interest in the cover of Farmer’s Weekly, struck up a conversation with him about agriculture.
For crop and cattle farmer Minenhle Mthiyane from Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal, farming has never been his backup plan. The 24-year-old says that making a life for himself in the agriculture sector has always been his first choice.
For poultry farmer Motlatsi Tolo, inspiration lies in constantly staying hopeful and resolving problems. She is one of the extraordinary female farmers participating in Corteva Women Agripreneur Programme 2021, a year-long blended development programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA), powered by Corteva Agriscience.
The alcohol sales bans over the last 15 months have not only plunged wine and barley farmers in crisis. Furthermore, the illicit trade sales by volume have now overtaken the entire combined wine and cider sectors.
Every Friday, we feature one of the rising farm stars participating in the FarmSol Youth Ambassador programme. This week, we travel to the Free State to meet father-and-son team Lehotla and Morapidi Makoele, who are continuing their family legacy.
Food For Mzansi is an initiative to introduce South Africans to the unsung heroes of the agricultural industry. We unashamedly share success stories and good news from the farms and agri-businesses who feed South Africa. We believe in the power of agriculture to promote nation building and social cohesion by telling stories that are often overlooked by broader society.