On 21 September at Grain SA’s Day of Celebration where farmers are celebrated for their contribution to food security, Phillip (Flip) Manoto (46) was announced as the Grain SA/Absa/John Deere Financial New Era Commercial farmer of the year.
Flip joined his father Labius on the farm in 2001. Their successful partnership on communal land prompted them to buy a farm together in 2005 with a loan from the Land Bank. They have already paid off the farm and are proud owners of the title deed. As Labius is getting older, Flip is taking over the duties on the farm, but his father remains a mentor and role model to him.
After completing his school education, Flip enrolled at a Klerksdorp technical college to obtain his N1 to N4 in electrical engineering. He was however never employed as an electrician as his desire to farm was just too big. ‘Farming has been part of my life since I was a small boy. There is nothing else in my blood but agriculture.’ He hopes to inspire the youth to develop an interest in agriculture as well. As a member of the community of Lombaardslaagte he serves on the board at the local school where his responsibility is to help the personnel and learners expand their agricultural knowledge.
Flip is also part of the Schoeman Group’s Zamukele dry bean project – a project aimed at establishing developing dry bean farmers as commercial farmers.
WHERE DID YOUR PASSION FOR AGRICULTURE ORIGINATE?
As a young boy I had to attend to my father’s cattle after school and during vacations. When I was a bit older my father taught me to drive a tractor so that I could help him in the lands when it was time to plough and plant.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE?
To grow my farming operation especially the livestock component. I want to convert some lands to plant pastures for the cattle. One day, I would also like to own a feedlot.
HAVE YOUR FARMING PRACTICES DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS?
When I started farming I was in survival mode just making enough to survive until the next season. By looking at what commercial farmers are doing and following their example when I started farming on my own land, I have become a successful farmer in my own right.
WHAT IS A BIG CHALLENGE YOU HAVE HAD TO FACE?
The drought in North West had a huge impact on our production and the farm’s profitability, but since the 2019/2020 season things started going better.
3 TIPS FROM A WINNER
- Work hard because hard work is rewarded.
- Learn from those who know more than you and don’t be afraid to ask when you need advice.
- Be honest and pay your debt. If you pay, your financiers will help you again.
Nearest town: Lichtenburg
Region: North West
Size: 550 ha. He is also leasing 36 ha of communal land from people in the Lombaardslaagte village where crops are planted.
Type: Mixed – crops (maize, sunflower and drybeans) and livestock (150 cattle) project – a project aimed at establishing developing dry bean farmers as commercial farmers.
GRAIN SA’S CONTRIBUTION
- He is a member of the Brooks study group at Mooifontein.
- In 2017, the father and son team became members of the 1 500 Ton Club.
- He became member of Grain SA in 2016.
Training courses completed:
- Basic engine repair.
- Farming for profit.
- High application tractor maintenance.
- Tractor and farm implement maintenance.
A mentor’s view:
Du Toit van der Westhuizen, regional development coordinator at the Lichtenburg office, has seen Flip develop from a struggling farmer to a successful commercial producer. ‘What has made Flip so successful is that he can function independently without someone peeping over his shoulder. He is also a very good decision-maker and one of the best managers on a farm that I have ever seen and his crops are on a par to his commercial neighbours’ crops,’ says Du Toit.
Publication: November 2022
Author: LOUISE KUNZ, ASSISTANT EDITOR