Up close and personal with Theo van Rooyen

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

Never give up.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you could?

I would have started farming earlier in my life.

Your single biggest success so far?

I quit drinking at 40 and started all over again after having lost almost everything.

Who has made the biggest contribution to your success to date?

Hauptfleisch van der Merwe of Bronaar Farming. He gave me an opportunity early in my life to work on his farm as a production manager. He taught me almost everything I know, especially how to work with people and manage finances. He sent me on various courses and took me to places I’ve never been before. I’m grateful for his involvement in my life. It made me strong.

How is your relationship with neighbouring farmers?

It’s very good.

Did you struggle to secure financing?

I was extremely lucky to have had a partner who gave me a soft loan. It’s important that government provides beginner farmers with grants, because it’s really difficult to lend money from financial institutions.

If you could give the minister of agriculture some advice, what would it be?

Identify potential farmers early on and provide them with land. Utilise TVET Colleges to provide farmers with proper training. Also provide sufficient finance, like making production finance as cheap as possible for at least five years until farmers can stand on their own.

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