Having started as an intern at the Cape Trout fish company in Cape Town, 35-year-old Morena Khashane took the opportunity seriously.
Today, he is the proud owner of MK Enterprise Tilapia Fish Farm, which he formed in 2016 after he realised that fish is a huge market and important for food security in the country.
Khashane studied aquaculture production management at Stellenbosch University after his internship at Cape Trout inspired him to act on his dream to work in the fishing industry.
His fish farm is based in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.
He said despite challenges, to the point of thinking of giving up on his dream of practicing aquaculture or being a fish farmer, he persevered.
“Aquaculture is not just a career but it is a lifestyle and calling for me. I am passionate about this business and I am learning a lot while empowering others through my skills and knowledge,” he said.
Khashane did his schooling at Seotlong Agricultural School where his initial passion was to become a livestock farmer.
However, the aquaculture bug bit him after he met the former ANC parliamentarian Stephen Phohlela, who pointed to the benefits of fish farming.
He said that after completing his studies, he returned to Cape Trout.
He also worked for HIK Abalone Farm, as well as the department of fisheries as a research assistant focusing on various aquaculture species like dusky cob, scallops, and phytoplankton fish food.
Khashane later worked at one of the largest fish farms in the world, Katse Fish Farm in Lesotho, where he was a farm manager.
“I struggled to get the farm off the ground until I met an investor in Rooigrond in the North West in 2018.
“There was a time when I wanted to give up and look for a job again but that was not an option.
“I started a pilot project to test the waters and through my quest, I won an award of R100 000 as a young farmer of the year.
“The money helped me a lot to invest in the business as I only had one fish tank to breed fingerlings.
“It takes eight months to breed fingerlings and then they can be harvested and sent to market,” he said.
Khashane said he sells one tonne of fish every month to well-known fish distributors and retailers in the country.
“I want to expand my business to other provinces and build a legacy for youngsters as I am passionate about this project.
His farm has 29 production systems and he employs four staff members.
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