In a new episode of our Farmer Mentor podcast series on Farmer’s Inside Track, Emmanuel Maphorogo shares his family’s 120-year farming story. Despite tough challenges, Emmanuel is building their avocado empire back up again.
Emmanuel Maphorogo is deeply connected to his family’s farming legacy. As a fourth-generation farmer and founder of Thathe Agri Development, his family’s connection with the land spans over 120 years.
Their avocado fields are situated in Limpopo, up in the mountains, near the Thathe Vondo Forest which is sacred to the Venda people of the province. Maphorogo farms on about 15 hectares there, and exports to Europe, North America, and Asia.
The estate traces its roots back to the early 1900s when Mokhondere Maphorogo, Emmanuel’s great-grandfather, laid its foundation. Mokhondere was a farmer with a primary focus on livestock and crops.
“Back in the day, your wealth was measured by how much land and livestock you had.”
The avocado empire’s early days
It wasn’t until two generations later, in the early 1960s, that Emmanuel’s father took a pioneering step by planting the estate’s first avocado trees.
Emmanuel fondly recalls his father, a knowledgeable man from whom he learned a lot.
Keep the legacy alive
Farming with avocados is not easy and there have been some difficulties. Around the late 1990s, they had a few disasters. They’ve had veld fires which burned down properties twice already.
“I just look at it as a phase in life that tests your passion, if you are cut out for it. We would joke with my father that the one time the property burnt down. There’s nothing much you can do.”
Emmanuel remembers being asked a crucial question by his father. “Are you prepared to start all over again?” Without hesitation, Emmanuel answered yes. And he did.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
In the Farmer’s Inside Track Mentor Farmer podcast series, he shares how they are rebuilding and rebranding with valuable advice for novice avocado growers.
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