Is agriculture the answer to unemployment?
Successful Mpumalanga farmer encourages the youth to consider farming as a career
Moniwa Skhosana (65) is a born and bred farmer who encourages the youth to follow in his footsteps.
Skhosana is the proud owner of Moniwa Agricultural Project, a profitable maize, strawberry, cattle and sheep farm in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.
“Growing up on a farm made me the person I am today. I was raised farming cows, with my father,” he said.
Watching his father being able to support the entire family by farming encouraged him to start and focus on his own business.
“I started farming with nothing. Now I look back and I am really fortunate to have achieved everything that I have. I encourage young people to get into agriculture, because it is a way of life. Our forefathers survived by farming and we can too,” he said.
Skhosana received his 1 500-hectare farm, which is ideal for crop and animal farming, from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy Programme in 2011. In 2013, the department gave him 30 pregnant Nguni cows and one bull, which are still going strong.
The farm employs 24 people, 16 of which are permanent employees and eight are casual workers.
The successful farmer, who believes in the spirit of ubuntu and often donates to poor families and events, encourages the youth not to overlook farming as a possible career.
“Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu,” he says, which means ‘You are because I am’.
Through his efforts and countless hours farming the land, Skhosana has bought the farm implements and other production tools he needed.
Skhosana maintains a close relationship with government and receives advice and technical support on crop and livestock management and record control; mechanisation support for crop production and the bailing of fodder.
Following a hail storm, which led to crop, contour and waterway damage, the department assisted him to survey the land and plan waterways and contours.
• This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.