WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.” (Psalm 111: 10)
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU COULD?
I would have trusted my instincts more – and gone into business earlier.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
Successfully launching my businesses and not having to rely on a pay cheque for more than 10 years. And using the same businesses to create employment for others.
WHO HAS MADE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR SUCCESS SO FAR?
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS? DO THEY PLAY ANY ROLE IN YOUR BUSINESS?
The farming community is naturally supportive. Our neighbouring farmers help with security on the farm.
WAS IT A STRUGGLE TO SECURE FINANCING, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER FARMERS IN NEED OF FUNDING?
It is still a struggle to an extent. It’s challenging to get the necessary finance to take your operation to commercial-farmer levels. I’ve been fortunate to have a good relationship with my banker, who understands farmers’ needs. The grants from the Department of Agriculture for chicken feed have also helped enormously.
And I have received grants from enterprise supplier development (ESD) programmes. A word of advice: financiers want an audit trail of performance and some indication of a good track record. So it’s important to make sure the operation is compliant with the relevant regulations and that complete records are kept up to date.
ARE INPUT SUPPLIERS, LIKE FEED COMPANIES, SIGNIFICANT TO YOUR OPERATION?
They don’t play a direct role, but I’m indirectly affected whenever there are delays in deliveries on their side, or general price increases for commodities like maize.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE?
To prioritise funding and technical support to emerging farmers so they can become commercial farmers. Without scale and volumes, it’s near impossible to remain profitable and sustainable in the long term.