Growing up on a farm in Heilbron in the Free State, Paul Mvelekweni Malindi had some experience with livestock. However, moving into the world of modern farming was quite an eye opener, and certainly not always easy.

While Malindi knew the ins and outs of business, planting for profit was a totally different ball game, so he set out to learn all he could. 

The former taxi business and grocery store owner, who now owns his own farm, Dankbaar, close to Edenville in the Free State, took many training courses offered by Grain SA, which represents the country’s grain producers. Through Grain SA’s Farmer Development Programme, Malindi learned more than just how to be a commercial farmer. “Grain SA taught us to keep up with new methods and technology; to do away with the old ways in order to move forward and succeed.” 

Farmer development: Former Grain SA Potential Commercial Farmer of the Year, Paul Malindi.
Former Grain SA Potential Commercial Farmer of the Year, Paul Malindi.

The Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) land acquisition model, which operates on the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle, granted Malindi a 440-hectare piece of land. He now farms with livestock, maize and sunflowers.

According to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the PLAS model concentrates on the destitute and developing land with great agricultural potential. PLAS focuses primarily on the poor and is based on the state pro-actively purchasing land with high agricultural potential. The department then selects beneficiaries who can lease the land with the option to purchase it.

In 2017, Malindi was named the Grain SA Potential Commercial Farmer of the Year. His farm continues to grow as he carries on with his hard work. Malindi now also rents an additional piece of land for his livestock to graze on as they continue to increase in number.

Driven by the motto of “dream big, grow steadily, never give up”, Malindi is well-respected by his employees as he sets a good example of being active and involved with the work on the farm. Looking to the future, farming is still at the top of his list. “I want to plant more crops such as soya and increase my cattle, so that my family business can grow.”