A traditional healer who also seeks to make it in the farming industry, is leaving no stone unturned to succeed while empowering others. Tshepiso Jantjies is facing the challenge of balancing his calling as a healer, his career as a businessman and ambitions of becoming a leading maize producer in the North West.
Jantjies, the owner and inventor of the Kgora Maize Meal brand, as well as his own farming and feed production enterprise, says he is ready for the road ahead.
“It is very difficult when you are running a business [on the one hand] and you have to deal with spiritual matters [on the other]. Managing my time as a traditional healer and businessman is still a challenge for me, especially as young as we are.”
He owns a company called “Jantjies Boerdery/Jantjies Voere” in Taung village, which specialises in crop production, livestock such as goats and sheep, animal feed and producing his branded maize meal.
According to Jantjies, the company started three years ago as a part-time hustle while he was working elsewhere. However, when Covid-19 hit and disrupted everything including his job at the time, he decided to go at it full-time.
Jantjies buys the ingredients for his animal feed from feed additive company Feedtek, who also helps him with standardisation of feed and testing.
“I sell to local farmers, both emerging and commercial, [and supply to farmers in] Botswana and Lesotho. There are plans to move to Namibia.”
Jantjies says he does not want to see only himself flourishing, but he seeks to uplift his peers to reach greater heights, especially in disadvantaged rural areas.
His achievements motivate him to go an extra mile to achieve what he wants for his business, he adds.
“A month ago, I won the gold medal at Namibia’s Oruharui annual agri expo. Within a year I have managed to make a turnover of R3 million and bought some things such as bakkies to assist in the day-to-day running of the business,” he says proudly.
“Farming is difficult … It needs one to be extremely committed to it and to engage with farmers who are more experienced in the field. Farming does not have a holiday, it wants you to be alert 24/7.”
The information technology graduate says research on farming is extremely important so that you can make informed choices.
“For example, when one needs to buy livestock, you need to talk to the right people so that you can get the best breed. I learned the tactics from those who have been in the game way before me. Farming needs young people to learn from older persons,” he explains.
He says getting involved in numerous training opportunities assisted him to build his company from the ground up. It took three years to lay a solid foundation.
Creating jobs is key
Jantjies says job creation remains high on his agenda. Currently his company employs 24 people, both temporary and permanent.
They have big plans for the future. “Come 2022 to 2023 we will be running a multimillion rand factory with the aim of having between 100 to 200 employees. We are into agri processing, both in maize meal and animal feed, and these are the products that are the fastest growing in South Africa now.
“We are the only young people in our area who are owning an agri processing company, and we are competing with big businesses in the industry,” he adds.
Jantjies says he is looking forward to having the business grow into a force to be reckoned with in the province – especially a business that is led by a young person.
“We want to see our business growing because we want to be part of business and government partnerships. We are all about growth and we want to see ourselves opening other offices in various places – we believe we can do this,” he concludes.
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