Meet the farmers

Waking up to the possibilities of winning in pig farming

Buti Malinga has built Vukani Piggery from a very small start – when he left a full-time job to start the business alongside his sister, Cathy, they had only nine sows. He currently runs a 120-sow unit that he plans to grow to 600 sows soon, and eventually to 2 500 sows. This go-getter speaks to Peter Mashala about his encounters with adversity and the rewards of persistence.

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Shining a light on effective small-scale production

Lesedi Masebe was living abroad, building her career as a chef working in Australia and New Zealand when her mother’s ill health forced her to return home to help run the family farm. That was six years ago. Today Lesedi runs a business that supplies a variety of fresh produce to the formal and informal sectors. She spoke to Peter Mashala about how her relation­ ship with food has gone from preparation to production.

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Increasing profits through diversification

Modisaotsile Paul ‘Kenny’ Mochwiri had always imagined himself working in a cosy office, crunching numbers as a finance professional. However, after four months on the job, he found that he lacked enthusiasm for the work. It wasn’t until he joined his father on the farm in 2010 that he felt a sense of purpose. He shares his story with Lebogang Mashala. 

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Young farmer finds his pot of gold in livestock

Noko Seboni’s love of farming almost died when he moved to Gauteng, but his father’s illness led him back to his true calling. Now, he is thriving as a farmer and has found success through crossbreeding. He tells Lebogang Mashala how he carefully selected breeds for his family’s cattle operation, resulting in increased profitability and a resilient herd that can withstand Limpopo’s tough bushveld conditions. 

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Striking gold with macadamias

Gene Likhanya stumbled across gold when he learnt about the high potential profits to be made farming macadamias, from his uncle many years ago. Guided by his faith and a good business instinct, he invested in a few macadamia trees despite his lack of knowledge about the industry. Today Gene’s company, Madimbo Macs, operates three macadamia farms in Limpopo’s Vhembe district. Peter Mashala visited Gene to find out about the progress he has made and his plans for the future in this R5 billion industry.

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Brothers find farming success in the motherland

Fine Living Farms, owned by the Ramaphala brothers, Thabo, Thabang and Botlhale, operates on four farms that span 53 hectares. They produce chickens, herbs, baby spinach, peppers, tomatoes, butternut and watermelons. The brothers migrated back to their homeland after living in the UK for many years. Lebogang Mashala recently visited their farm in Brits to learn their secrets of success.

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Young farmer provides inspiration in the field and in lecture rooms

Dimpho Xaba, an agricultural lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology, developed a love for farming at a young age as he grew up in the farming town of Brits, North West. Today, he farms wheat, maize, beans, potatoes and bees in Pretoria North and is committed to empowering others in the field of agriculture. In conversation with Peter Mashala, Dimpho reflects on how his childhood experiences influenced his career path.

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Young farmer takes family business to another level

The political climate of the early eighties made it impossible for Thubelihle Mthombeni’s dad, David Mthombeni, to pursue his dream of becoming a commercial farmer. Today, however, David – the founder of Gegana Farming – works alongside Thubelihle in a mixed farming enterprise of broilers, cattle, small stock and grains. They have three farms spread over 2,162ha in Greylingstad, Standerton and Evander in Mpumalanga. Thubelihle, who manages operations, spoke with African Farming about what drives the family business.

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