Podcast: Tobacco farming is not for the faint of heart

Jabulani Tembe, a tobacco farmer from Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast to give us some insight into tobacco farming in South Africa. Other guests include FarmSol boss, Aron Kole; South Africa’s representative to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr Brave Ndisale; Soil Sista and Gauteng pig farmer Nthabiseng Mathebula; and Limpopo tobacco farmer Erasmus Sefoloshe

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The tobacco industry is notoriously difficult to enter. Jabulani Tembe, a tobacco farmer for the last six years and secretary of the Black Farmers Tobacco Association (BAFTA), tells listeners to our farming podcast that aspiring tobacco farmers need to have loads of patience when entering the industry. 

“It is not an easy crop. You need to have passion and be dedicated to grow [tobacco]. If you want to engage yourself in such a business, you must be ready to work very hard.” 

Tembe joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast this week to explain that tobacco farming is a long-term type of investment, as it could take years to become profitable. “It takes time before you can generate profit because of the soil and everything else, so you need to understand the [tobacco] business from the onset up to the last.” 

There are few players in the tobacco industry, which makes it rife with opportunity, especially, Tembe says, for black people. However, the very fact that the industry is so small also makes the journey into tobacco farming harder.  

“The tobacco industry is very difficult to enter into. You can’t do it on your own. You need to have people around you with experience and [you need to] be under a certain association or a group of people, so that you can crack this business. It is very difficult to enter into this industry if you are working in isolation.” 

ALSO READ: Tobacco farming news for beginners

Other farmers podcast highlights: 

The best farming podcast on the planet also features other highlights for the agricultural sector this week: 

  • Farmer’s tip of the week: Our farmer tip of the week comes from tobacco farmer Erasmus Sefoloshe, who hails from Limpopo. 
  • Book of the week: Our book of the week is “The soil will save us by Kristin Ohlson. The book explains the carbon cycle and interlinkage of plants, animals and soil and is reviewed by Carolien Sampson, head of strategy and sustainability at Access Bank SA. 
  • Soil Sistas: This week’s #SoilSista powered by Food for Mzansi and Corteva Agriscience is Gauteng pig farmer Nthabiseng Mathebula. This farmer encourages aspiring pig farmers to go big from the start 
  • Farmer Development: FarmSol boss, Aron Kole, shares his top farming tips for new farmers. 
  • Food Systems: Discussing the media’s role in the food systems dialogue is Dr Brave Ndisale Bronkhorst, South Africa’s representative to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation.  

How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track 

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Option 1: Click here to listen on YouTube.

Option 2: Click here to listen on Spotify (all mobile and other devices). 

Option 3: Click here to listen on any Apple device. 

Option 4: Click here to listen on Google Podcasts

Option 5:Click here listen using this player. Just click “play”. 

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