DANIEL MOGONEDIWA First the teacher, now the learner
Daniel Mogonediwa (45) is a subsistence farmer from the North West Province. He farms on Holgat, 400 hectares of land which he leases from the Monamaladi CPA in the Bodenstein area near Coligny. On 130 hectares of land he plants sunflower and maize in a crop rotation system and also owns a mixed breed of 33 cattle. He achieves an average sunflower yield of 1,6 t/ha. Due to the severe drought conditions of the previous season he made the wise decision not to plant a lot of maize as he realised water would be a problem, but still managed a yield of 1,2 t/ha. With better weather conditions he usually achieves an average yield of 1,6 t/ha.
He received some of his equipment from the government and buys most of his other equipment second-hand, but is now the proud owner of a brand new tractor which he recently purchased. He supports other parties in the agricultural industry by purchasing seed from Pannar and Agricol. Omnia supports him with financial and technical assistance and he is also a member of the Omnia Farmer Development Scheme.
To Daniel the agricultural industry is synonymous with ‘food, food, food’. ‘The agricultural industry is all about feeding the nation,’ he says and adds ‘It is important to fight the problem of hunger which is facing the continent of Africa as a whole.’ According to him farmers, seed companies, people who sell fertiliser to ensure healthy crops and the businesses who sell equipment needed to plant and harvest crops all form part of this large industry and therefore all contribute to food security. Although he sees the role he plays in the agricultural industry as small, he definitely feels part of the industry as he is contributing to food security in his own area and inevitably joining in the battle against hunger.
According to Daniel subsistence farmers need more financial support and guidance in the area of financial planning. ‘This is the one area that causes me headaches and sleepless nights,’ he adds. A change he would like to see in the agricultural industry is in the area of the availability of land to emerging farmers. ‘It is a big struggle for us to acquire our own land,’ he mentions. He dreams of being a land owner and developing into a fully fledged commercial farmer.
Starting his career as a teacher teaching Mathematics and English second language he decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in 2005 and started farming on a part-time basis. As his farming business was growing and demanded his undivided attention he made the decision in 2015 to exchange the classroom for the farm permanently.
As an ex-teacher he knows the importance of learning and makes sure that he attends as many of the study group sessions and courses in his area. He mentions that he is very appreciative to Grain SA about the guidance they are offering to emerging farmers. They are following the wisdom shared in this saying: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. Most of his farming know-how of the past eleven years is a result of the input of Grain SA and other farmers.
The most recent course which he attended is a planter clinic presented in Bothaville. He also recently attended a business development course sponsored by Syngenta and led by the Grain Academy at the University of the Free State. With his attendance of the official opening of a state-of-the-art training centre at the AGCO future farm (which coincided with the Massey Ferguson Agricultural Fair) in Lusaka, Zambia in April this year as well as the Vaal University of Technology’s Soya Food Seminar held in Vanderbijlpark in June, he ensured that he formed part of the broader agricultural scene in South Africa.
This month’s edition of The Corner Post was written by Louise Kunz, Pula Imvula contributor.
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Publication: October 2016