Young Farmer determined to succeed despite drought

After finishing school, while his friend ventured into furthering studies, the Mpumalanga born Mthokozisi Madonsela has his heart staple on farming.

Born in Bodenstadt farm in Piet Retief , Madonsela aspire to be one of the Continent’s successful farmers. 
The 29 year old runs his 48 hectors -Maphondleni Farm – a home to cows, goats and horses. He sells some of the live stock to the local people around, for their traditional customs & practices and while he takes some to auctions in Ermelo.

Mthokozisi Madonsela standing at his farm

Madonsela says his hunger for agriculture came at a young age, growing up in his grandparents, he used to help his grandfather who was an informal farmer at the time with milking cows among other things. 

“My grandfather owned more than 100 of herd of cattle & goats but never make a business out of it”
In August, Madonsela lost 38 goats out of 52 to stock theft.

He expressed his concern over the high level of stock theft in the area, which sabotages the business.
He says while they have to keep a sharp eye to criminals targeting the kraal, they also have to deal with the drought that hit both the live stock and the vegetables, which deprives the growth of the business. 

“When the drought hit livestock we suffer the most, I endured the death of few cattle which forces me to sell few while I am not intending to”

The young farmer says drought tarnish the production of the vegetables as results he is forced to stop producing for at least three months, with no cash rolling, it becomes a major set back for him and his workers who rely on the farmer to look after their families.

In 2016 the Mkhondo municipality sponsored him with two Jojo tanks for water storage, pipes and taps for irrigation and in 2017 the Department of Agriculture provided maize seeds, vegetables seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and a tractor among other things.

The emerging farmer says at times they feel rejected by the government in terms of ensuring the availability of sustainable market for their productions.

He says the greatest challenge in the sector is the market.

 “While we work so hard & tirelessly to ensure food security in our society, we end up compromising to selling our produce to informal markets like local supermarkets and hawkers, as a result we end up not making enough profit to keep up with our business needs,” express Madonsela.

Mandosela explains that the challenges are nothing compared to the love and passion he has for farming and believe that patience, consistency & hard work will take him far in life.

He says growing up in a rural area, his goal is to employ 20 permanent people and  produce more than two hundreds tonnes of maize, supply chain stores with vegetables and build  his own supermarkets.

He currently have three people in permanent positions and about 15 temporal employees depending on the workload that need to be done.

“I chose Agriculture because I needed to ensure food security, we have child headed households, I believe in the creation of sustainable employment for Economic Development strictly in the black society”