As a young lad growing up in Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape, Byron Booysen always thought that growing food and feeding the nation was quite a cool thing to do. Being part of a family renowned for owning several businesses, he too wanted to flex his entrepreneurial muscles. Farming however, never crossed his mind.
Today, the 29-year-old is the managing director of Booysen’s Tunnel Farming and farms with cocktail and beef tomatoes in Kraaifontein, Cape Town.
The young hydroponics farmer joins Food For Mzansi editor Dawn Noemdoe and co-founder Kobus Louwrens on this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track podcast episode.
In the podcast he shares enlightening snippets from his agricultural journey. Booysen explains that he knows all too well how daunting the process of applying for funding can be and shares a few tips on how aspiring commercial farmers can make the process easier on themselves.
“Having access to sources like the Farmer’s Inside Track is very helpful. Having access to communications is also key. There’s always a number that can give you another number that can help you,” Booysen explains.
His choice to pursue hydroponics, Booysen says, was strategic and he shares with Noemdoe and Louwrens why exactly he chose this method of farming.
“I chose hydroponics because of land availability. I knew that I had 1 hectare of land available and planting in soil would not give me the yields that I would have wanted. Therefore, growing tomatoes vertically makes up for the space,” Booysen says.
Further in the podcast, Booysen shares how he navigates through the challenge of accessing quality water for his farm. He also recalls some of the mistakes he made as a learner farmer, which eventually had a favourable outcome.
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