When you meet Pannar Seed advisor and product representative Mr Tlharesakgotla Hendrik Mokoto for the first time, you will be impressed by his knowledge of farming and crop production. This friendly advisor has been part of the Pannar family since 2004.
Although Tlharesakgotla Hendrik Mokoto is stationed in the Delareyville area, his work sometimes takes him to nearby Mahikeng and Sannieshof as well as far-flung areas in rural South Africa.
Pannar Seed is a dynamic South African seed group with research and development at its core. It is one of the largest field crop seed producers and suppliers in Africa, and a significant and respected member of the international seed industry.
Pannar has been in the African seed business since its inception in Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1958. Bringing its products and knowledge to farmers across the spectrum is important to Pannar, and consultants like Mokoto are positioned strategically to provide clients with the necessary information and assistance.
“My focus remains on assisting farmers in North West and the Free State, but I do work across almost all of the provinces when needed,” he says.
“I worked as an extension officer for the Department of Agriculture for 15 years, but I’ve been representing Pannar for over a decade to perform similar extension services to both new and established farmers.” Mokoto sees the value in his job and enjoys walking a path with numerous farmers who have since graduated from beginner status to commercial producers.
“I not only look at the crop production or cultivar selection on farms, but also at the vision and planning of the farmer and the farming operation as a whole,” he explains.
“Sometimes farmers start very small and they buy only a few bags of seed at a time. When they grow their business, it gives me great pleasure to know that I had some role to play in getting them to a place where they can buy in bulk and produce at a commercial level.
“One of ‘my’ farmers near Sannieshof is one such example. He is now a fully fledged commercial producer and I feel very proud to see his growth and success.”
CHANCES AND CHALLENGES
“The 2020/21 production season promises to be one of our best and I am really excited for our farmers. The rain fell very well this season and farmers are eager to see what the harvest will deliver. Some record-breaking production on certain farms are definitely possible.”
Among the biggest farming challenges Mokoto identifies, especially in the western production area, are spells of drought and theft of crops.
“One of my clients planted 50ha of maize, which looked set to become a wonderful harvest. But thieves cleared almost everything and he didn’t even break even.
“But all is not lost, and adaptability is an attribute you should cultivate as a farmer. The climate will always pose challenges and we’ve learnt how best to cope with what we have. Where maize theft is a big problem, sunflower and beans are options to use in rotational cropping. Sunflower is especially well adapted for this area and we currently enjoy good income from sunflower production.”
WORKING ON A DREAM
Mokoto is married to Frida, who is a teacher and the principal of a school near Delareyville. They have three children – two sons, Omphile and Kutlo, and a daughter, Tshiamo – and two grandchildren.
While still working full steam as advisor and representative for the seed company, Mokoto uses his free time to raise a few head of cattle, goats and sheep. Like most people in the agricultural industry, he dreams of farming full time one day.
“I would like to farm all the time, but for now my work keeps me busy and it is important to do my job at Pannar well. I love what I do, and I enjoy my work and the gratification it brings,” he says.
“Who knows, maybe I will really have my own farm one day!”