Young livestock farmer Tumelo Ngakanyane grew up assisting his grandfather in the kraal and at the same time learning the techniques of how to farm. He knew from the onset that he had to pull his weight to ensure that he makes a name for himself and continue with the family legacy of farming.
At the tender age of 19, Ngakanyane farms at his village in Ganyesa in North West.
Ngakanyane who is in grade 12 this year, is studying agriculture as his main subject and says balancing the two is not easy, but he is going the extra mile to make a success of everything he touches.
Taking the baton
“In the year 2020, after spending most of my time helping my grandfather to farm, he decided to give me a head start as he believed that I am now mature and had enough experience and exposure to start my own project. Three years ago he gave me 50 cows and five bulls,” says Ngakanyane.
“I took the leap and I’ve progressed to a level where I was able to purchase the equipment needed for my farm.”
Ngakanyane appreciates what he’s been able to learn from an early age because it hasn’t been easy.
“As Africans, our banks and investments are in livestock. Farming has taught me hard work and patience even when I experience setbacks. It is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires one to have passion and patience.”
Learning on the job
The young and dedicated farmer says his biggest lesson since starting to farm was being exposed to new things, both academically and on his farming journey.
“Farming is very testing. It tests your character to the highest order. I have gone through veld fires and drought periods, however, those are the learning curves one has to go through in order to be the best one can be.
“Testing times are always there, like during the birth season. I often lose a few cows and calves, but we keep forging ahead,” he says.
Ngakanyane’s biggest market is auctions, butcheries and local community members who might want livestock.
“Getting into the market was not really difficult because one needs to understand the needs of the market and be productive and think ahead for your customers,” he adds.
What keeps him going, is that his grandfather, Motlhatlhedi Ngakanyane, has held his hand from day one until now, especially since at times he has had to focus on school-related work which takes him away from his farming operations for a while.
“I am dreaming big. In the next five years, with the experience and knowledge that I am getting, I want to see myself as an auctioneer, that is my dream.”
Ngakanyane says if there is one sector that will not fade away or be a waste of investment, it is agriculture, however, more support from the youth is needed.
“I love agriculture because it is the greatest source of food security because people eat and communities need food.
“Seeing farmers producing bulls, planting crops, and seeing our market growing every day, making more money every day, that’s what motivates my growth in agriculture.
“While many farmers are pushing, there is a need for our government to be awarding youth-focused projects and avail the land for them to start farming. We need youth with skills to enter the agricultural space,” he says.
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