- A young farmer from the small rural area of Komkhulu eMunyu in the Eastern Cape spoke to Briefly News about the joys and challenges of his livelihood
- Nkosinathi Makamela is a fourth-year student at the University of Fort Hare who started his own farming business in 2020 during the difficult lockdown
- He started small, but today his business is thriving as he specializes in pigs, chickens and vegetables and has even won some impressive awards.
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Hailing from the small rural area of Komkhulu eMunyu in the Eastern Cape, farmer Nkosinathi Makamela was born to be in the sun while reaping the rich fruits of the soil.
The young man took time out of his busy schedule to share with In brief News all about his passion for farming and how he managed to turn it into a thriving business called Lolo Polyculture. He specializes in pigs, chickens, cows and various crops to which he gives meticulous attention and care every day.
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Farming is family
Although born into a family of subsistence farmers, Nkosinathi only started his business in April 2020 during the harsh lockdown when the University of Fort Hare, where he is studying animal science, suspended all academic activities.
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“I was raised by parents who love breeding. My mother was more focused on pigs, chickens and vegetables. While my father took care of the cows, the sheep as well as the crops too. It was at home that I developed a passion for agriculture. But I’ve always wanted to know more about animals beyond just raising them. I wanted to understand the health and the science behind them,” the fourth-year student said.
At home, he took it upon himself to use unused college funds in his bank account to start a small vegetable farm while working on plans to build a structure for a pigsty. He finishes it in July and soon buys 8 piglets. He has never looked back since.
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Crossing the challenges
He admits that running a successful farm that feeds his family and community is no small feat. The 22-year-old shared that as a small-scale farmer, cash and water shortages remain big challenges.
“Capital is a big challenge. As I don’t really have a lot of means, I don’t have efficient equipment like a tractor and other agricultural equipment to do my job. This means I have to resort to old-fashioned farming like our grandparents did, like using my cows to till the soil. It’s a lot of work and it’s not easy. »
Nkosinathi said water shortages in his rural area limit the amount and type of crops he can plant.
“For example, I decided to put an end to agricultural crops such as spinach which must be watered regularly. Instead, I plant vegetables like potatoes, corn and pumpkins that can survive on rainwater,” he said.
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A community of supporters
The young man shared that he receives a lot of support from his community and has built a market of consumers who are always eager to buy his fresh produce which he sells both on Facebook and in town, eDutywa.
Agriculture is both a way of life and a passion for Nkosinathi. He said after losing his mother in 2019, his love for the rich soil and animals deepened even further.
“My mother’s death left a huge void at home and on our farm. In addition to his presence, we no longer had any chickens either. I knew I had to do something hence the birth of my own farming business.
His hard work and determination paid off remarkably. He managed to build his own house using the savings and profits from his business.
He won the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Trailblazer Award and the Eastern Cape Youth Award last year in recognition of his farming.
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Nkosinathi currently aims to buy a larger plot of land where he will grow more crops and livestock and get closer to realizing his dream of becoming a commercial farmer.
His other goals also include creating more employment opportunities as well as transmitting knowledge in his community by organizing short courses in agriculture for young people.
“I advise anyone who wants to get into farming to get to work. I started with very little but with perseverance, patience and research I have managed to get by so far. They need to believe that anything is possible. If you don’t have the funds to study, check out YouTube tutorials, find out about your interests, go out and talk to people. There is always a way if you truly believe in your dream. Don’t be afraid to start small,” he encouraged.
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In a similar story, In brief News previously reported that a young man left many inspired looks after sharing the incredible progress and development of his farming business.
Terry Maphosa (@terrymap1) shared a tweet with two photos showing how his farm went from vacant land to one full of lush vegetation. He captioned the post:
“I think back to last year. I’m this ‘trying rural boy’.”
The 29-year-old from Mhondoro Ngezi in Zimbabwe spoke to In brief News for his successful business and his love of agriculture.
Source: News in Brief