Farming is not about owning land, but about having the right skills and knowledge. You also need to be passionate, patient and able to persevere despite adversities,’ says Samuel Moloi (52), who farms in the Fouriesburg area.
Samuel got interested in farming as a young boy. His father was a farm worker and during the holidays he would watch the various farming activities. Little did he realise that this ‘holiday activity’ would form the foundation he would need to become the successful farmer he now is.
The other two other big factors that contributed to his success were a radio programme and a generous commercial farmer. Samuel first heard about Grain SA while listening to Radio Lesedi, where Jane McPherson, who was the manager of Grain SA’s Farmer Development Programme at the time, shared information about courses and study groups that were presented by Grain SA. He realised that this was how he would gain the necessary agricultural knowledge to kickstart his career as a farmer.
A local commercial farmer made it possible for Samuel to put his knowledge into practice on a 30-hectare piece of arable land. ‘He even offered the use of his tractors and implements for mahala!’ The farmer also gave him advice to ensure that the crop would grow. His dream became a reality at last.
By 2008, he was farming on a total of nearly 400 hectares, including arable land which he leased from the Dihlabeng Local Municipality. He now realises approximately 7 t/ha on maize and about 3 t/ha on soybeans. This year, heavy rains caused huge problems in the fields, but he remains positive that he will still realise a good harvest.
Although he has faced many challenges, he does not allow setbacks and trials to obstruct his dream. 'I do not believe in giving up.' He is a diabetic and must go to hospital for dialysis three times a week, but still manages to keep the farm going – thanks to his dedicated team of workers. Without owning a single hectare of land, this passionate farmer has become one of the success stories from Grain SA’s Farmer Development Programme.
WHAT ROLE HAS GRAIN SA PLAYED IN YOUR FARMING CAREER?
Knowledge has been the main contributor to my success, and I gained most of my knowledge
about agricultural practices by attending study group meetings, training courses and farmers days presented by Grain SA. The Grain SA mentorship programme is crucial to the success of developing farmers. I cannot thank Grain SA enough.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOU BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
It was wonderful to be chosen as the 2009 Grain SA Developing Farmer of the Year and the award was a motivation to improve my farming skills. At the 2022 Day of Celebration, I became a member of the 2 000 Ton Club after I produced 3 200 tonsof yellow maize. This shows that I am growing, which is my real success story.
DO YOU HAVE A FARMING DREAM?
I will never stop dreaming about owning my own land because I have a responsibility to feed the nation. I would also love to see my son follow in my footsteps and become a second-generation farmer.
SAMUEL’S THREE TOP TIPS
1. Never stop learning.
2. Do soil samples and ensure that the soil is healthy.
3. Try to know everything about your operation.
Nearest town: Fouriesburg
Region: Eastern Free State
Size: 920 ha of leased land, also leases an extra 1 400 ha on ten different farms
Type of farming operation: Mixed (plants maize, soybeans, drybeans and has livestock.) Samuel is converting to no-till practices.
GRAIN SA’S CONTRIBUTION
- Samuel joined Grain SA in 2004.
- Member of the Dishweshwe Study Group.
Training courses completed:
Samuel is proud of the fact that he has completed all the courses offered by Grain SA.
A mentor’s view:
Jacques Roux, regional development manager in the Eastern Free State, has been visiting Samuel on his farm for the past few years. He says that even with Samuel’s health struggles, he is a remarkable farmer because of three strong points: ‘Firstly, he is an excellent manager whose financial statements and administration are up to date. Secondly, he has a committed team of workers who continue unsupervised while he is in hospital and thirdly, he does not have to rely on contractors to get the work done as he owns enough equipment.
Publication: June 2023