farm management

Planning, planning, planning key to success

“Ma Pinky’s incredible passion for farming has spread from Mzansi to the world, to the next generations,” said Lindiwe Sithole new presenter of the agricultural television show, African Farming. The second season of the series has started on Thursday 24 June at 18:30 on Mzansi Wethu (channel 163, DStv). In this episode Sithole visited Selina Pinky Hlabedi at Ba Kwa-Hlabedi Farming in Gauteng to hear about her cattle and maize operations.

“I had the opportunity to plant on 2,5 hectares. That 2,5 hectares took me to where I am today and that is how I acquired this farm,” Hlabedi said of her road to success.

“Today my farm is 498 hectares and we farm with maize, cattle, and small vegetables. We also had sheep, before they were stolen.”

The road to success was hard but Ma Pinky soldiered on. “Our mom is a very driven person, and it has helped us to get to this farm,” said Dineo Hlabedi, Pinky’s daughter. Pinky’s son, Thabang, is the farm manager. 

During the episode Pinky told of past ventures that had failed, such as vegetable gardens not being profitable and a poultry farm not making it. She also recounts the time her sheep were stolen: “I had 100 sheep and 78 were stolen.”

Later in studio Sithole asked panel expert Keneilwe Nailana, Senior Manager for Agribusiness at Standard Bank, how farmers can plan better for unforeseen events and disasters.

“We cannot overemphasise planning,” said Nailana. “Like they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

According to Nailana you should start your planning with a budget. “It will show you your expected income and expenses, this way you won’t be caught off guard.”

However, she warned that if you make a mistake with your budget it will show in your cash flow. “You cannot afford to run out of cash when you have a business, because you need cash for everyday activities to stay operational. If you cannot pay for operating expenses, then you will have to close up shop. Trust me, I have seen profitable businesses close down because of cash-flow problems. So, you really need a financial advisor to help you manage and understand your cash flow cycle.”

She also advised farmers to prepare for risk by setting up a risk plan. “We have products that can help you in that regard, such as crop insurance and livestock insurance. Therefore, make sure you are informed and get a reliable banker to help you through tough times.”

For Nailana planning is key to any successful farming operation and she said she will always advise new farmers to plan, plan, plan.

For more information: Agribusiness Desk, 011 344 5143 / 011 721 9089, email:

SBSA.Agricultural@standardbank.co.za, website: www.standardbank.co.za.

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