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Grain SA interviews... Michael Mbalo

December 2015

Grain SA interviews... Michael MbaloMichael Ngayibeki Mbalo is a young, energetic and passionate farmer from Mthatha, who is very eager to learn and practise the skills he has received from the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme.

Where and on how many hectares are you farming? What do you farm with?

I am a communal farmer in Mthatha in the Baziya Administrative Area in the OR Tambo District Municipality. This season I produced 7 hectares of maize and 1 hectare of potatoes. In total I own 14 hectares, where I plant maize, beans and potatoes. I also farm with sheep and beef cattle.

What motivates/ inspires you?

The Grain SA Study Group members motivate me. After I opted for a voluntary package from the gold mine in Marikana, where I was employed, I approached the Grain SA Mthatha office and received advice on the purchase of machinery and implements for agricultural farming.

Describe your strengths and weakness

I am still young with a lot of farming energy and passion and still very eager to learn and practise training skills and advice obtained.

What was your crop yield when you started farming? What are your respective yields now?

When I started farming, I produced 2,5 t/ha, now I am a Grain SA advanced farmer producing 4 t/ha.

What do you think was the main contributor to your progress and success?

I attribute my progress and success to the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme that provided me with training courses, advice, study group services, practical demonstrations and farmer days. I also always have Pula Imvula at hand for reference and this contributed to my progress. The above training and assistance helped me increase my yield.

What training have you received to date and what training would you still like to do?

I have completed the Introduction to Maize Production course, Tractor Maintenance course and Setting of Implements course. I would also like to do a course on Farm Management for Profit as well as receive training in welding, grinding and spray painting.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years time I want to have 30 hectres of maize and be producing more than 5 t/ha.

What advice do you have for young aspiring farmers?

To the young farmers out there, I would like to advise and encourage them to group themselves and form a youth co-operative. They should rather till the land for earing and stop committing crime. They should know that farming is a business that creates jobs.

Article submitted by Lawrence Luthango, Development Co-ordinator of the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme, Mthata. For more information, send an email to lawrence@grainsa.co.za.

Publication: December 2015

Section: Pula/Imvula