WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
To manage mortality by making sure that I follow a proper health plan to produce healthy pigs. And, secondly, never to compromise on quality.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD?
I should have applied for larger capacity when we did the recapitalisation programme.
Pig farming is a numbers game.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
Producing the high quality that I market now, and bringing my mortality rate down over the years.
WHO HAS MADE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS TO DATE?
There are many people, but to mention a few: KC Mabelane, CP Kriek of Taaibosch Piggery, Marguerite Schwarzer of PIC and Anna Phosa. Also, the Department of Agriculture in the North West.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS? DO THEY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR OPERATION?
I have the best relationship with my neighbours. We share a lot of information and resources.
WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO SECURE FINANCING, AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER OTHER FARMERS WHO ARE LOOKING FOR FUNDING?
It is a struggle always – that goes without saying. But if you want to get funding, you must ensure that you run your business professionally. Keep records of everything and get a bookkeeper to run your books. This is what investors look at first.
ARE INPUT SUPPLIERS, LIKE ANIMAL HEALTH COMPANIES, IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS?
My input suppliers are like partners in my business. They play a central role in the running of this business.
IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE SOME ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
The minister needs to look at emerging farmers who are moving forward into the commercial arena. Her department should be focusing on quality, not numbers.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF ORGANISED AGRICULTURE, LIKE THE SOUTH AFRICAN PORK PRODUCERS’ ORGANISATION (SAPPO)?
Commodity groups such as Sappo play a major role in the development of small-scale farmers. I am a member of Sappo and the support I get from the organisation is crucial.