When a budding pig farmer from Worcester, outside Cape Town, lost all his pigs due to swine flu over the Christmas holidays, he thought it was the end of his farming career. Little did he know that two months later he would find new hope at a broiler production workshop.
Eric Memani was among the beginner and future farmers who attended the Western Cape leg of the Farmer’s Inside Track farmer clinics over the weekend. Across the country, people are signing up to attend the training sessions presented by professional farmers.
“I was on track with my piggery and losing my pigs was like getting a heart attack,” Memani tells Food For Mzansi. “It’s like all the grieving of the piggery is gone. This training healed my soul. I have a lot of hope now.”
Memani describes himself as a hustler who is set on creating employment through farming. “I will use this opportunity. There is a lot that I didn’t know before. In my community [of Zwelethemba] I will be the first one with a broiler [business].
He thanked Food For Mzansi, chicken farmer and trainer Jo-Andra Cloete and her team at Our Poultry Place in Kraaifontein for the farmer clinic. Seats are filling up fast for the next farmer clinic to be held in Pretoria on Saturday, 19 March 2022.
Also attending the Kraaifontein farmer clinic was a food technologist, Precious Hlongwane from Parklands near Table View. She says, “Attending this workshop has ignited that passion that I had for poultry farming. I believe that with today’s knowledge I will be able to start with my own poultry farm.”
Meanwhile, Sedick Kalam and his son, Yusrie, described the training session as just the right medicine before starting a brand-new agribusiness on their new Schaapkraal farm.
Yusrie explains, “We have a construction company and we moved over to a new property that previously had a chicken farm on it. There were actually people staying in the chicken house. It is a little bit dilapidated, so we’re fixing it up.”
He encouraged others to also attend Food For Mzansi’s upcoming farmer clinics. “It is very valuable filled with lots of information. Obviously, we’re not yet in that field, so we didn’t know much about [broiler production].
Another attendee, Khaya Saunders from Khayelitsha, says following the training he is able to avoid some of the most common mistakes made by other chicken farmers in his area. “I know how my chicken structures must look like now. I now know how to look after the chickens too. I want to recommend this course to others who want to start farming.”
Litha Nqabeni, a quantity surveyor from Goodwood, says following the Food For Mzansi-led training, he feels more equipped to farm.
“The main challenge I’m having is looking for a place where I can operate from. Where I’m staying, I don’t have [available] space at all. So, I need to do that within the next six months. [Farming] land is an issue in Cape Town, but I’m ready to start out.”
James Madumba, a Zimbabwean chicken farmer who lives in Thornton, adds that the clinic worked “wonders and miracles”. He now hopes to increase his production to 5 000 day-old chicks.
“With this workshop, I will be in touch with them [his team back home.] This was hugely insightful and a moral boost. It is going to give me a good kick to do more and supply to local communities.”Chicken farmer James Madumba
What to expect at our farmer clinics
Meanwhile, Dawn Noemdoe, Food For Mzansi’s manager for audience and engagement, encouraged farmers across South Africa to register for upcoming broiler production farmer clinics in different provinces.
“We have been inundated with training requests and have partnered with top young farmers to make sure that a new generation of producers get all the help they deserve. The workshops are highly interactive, practical and fun,” she says.
Cloete, who originally started farming during her maternity leave a few years ago, is one of the trainers signed up by the Farmer’s Inside Track Academy.
“For the very first time in a long time, I’m speechless. The attendees were amazing. It brings joy to my soul to see their excitement. They’re motivated and could leave knowing they were equipped with the knowledge to start their own projects.”
Noemdoe stresses that the facilitators are all chicken farmers who understand what it takes to build a business from the ground up. The Saturday workshop series will cover a range of broiler management topics to ensure that you hit the ground running.
“From chicken housing, equipment and shed preparation to litter, rearing management, feed and feeding, lighting, ventilation, health and biosecurity – we have got you covered. We’ll also teach you some of the basic principles of business management: from business registration and a daily checklist that you should follow.”
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