WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
When I graduated, my dad told me, in whatever field I wanted to achieve, I should do three things: plan, implement and maintain. He also advised me to work hard and to stay away from politics.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD?
I would have worked for longer outside my father’s business. I believe I should have stayed another four or five years, gaining more experience and confidence at Du Roi’s.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE, IN YOUR VIEW?
When, for the first time in the history of this company, we hit the milestone of producing more than 152 000 boxes of citrus in 2018. That was my proudest moment.
WHO HAS MADE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS SO FAR?
There are many people who have contributed to the success of this operation, but my parents played a big role by setting up the business and maintaining it well, to ensure that I took over a healthy business.
ARE INPUT SUPPLIERS, SUCH AS CHEMICAL COMPANIES, IMPORTANT TO YOUR OPERATION AT ALL?
My input suppliers play a big role, because they know their products and how best these products will work for me. So they are the ones who guide me in terms of how to use these products and they form a big part of the farm’s success.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS, AND DO THEY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR BUSINESS?
We are in the village, and most of the farmers close to us are communal farmers. I have a good relationship with all of them. Then there are farmers outside this area, in Levhubu and Tzaneen, whom I see as part of my community and with whom I also have a great working relationship.
DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SECURE FINANCING? WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE SOLUTION TO THIS CHALLENGE IN THE LONG TERM?
Finance is very difficult to access, and I still struggle with it. But if farmers were granted title to their land, and some kind of a plan was made for those who farm on communal land, it would improve land security and help with this problem.
IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE SOME ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?
I would advise her to focus on the youth. She should also focus on people who want to be farmers and have proven that they are committed.