Poverty drove Nkanyane to turn to farming

Growing up in a poverty-stricken family forced Benjamin Nkanyane to look to the land to assuage hunger and make a living.

Nkanyane, 33, is the founder of Davhuha Farming Enterprise, a farming business he established in 2019 in Mooketsi farmlands, in Modjadjiskloof in Limpopo.

He hails from Sebayeng township outside Polokwane, and said he was inspired by his mother to get into crop farming.

“My mother used to work on the farms when I was young, and she managed to provide food for us through her work as a farm worker,” Nkanyane said.

“Farming provides many families with food and jobs, grows the economy and provides food security for the country. When I was in Grade 7, my brother performed better than me in the agricultural test and that made me realise that I needed to pull up my socks and so I became more interested in farming,” he said.

He added that he started growing vegetables in the family garden and got inspired seeing the results of his hard work paying off.

“After I finished my matric in 2005, I didn’t have money to study further, but I started doing odd jobs to raise funds for two years.

“Later I managed to study for a BSc in Agriculture at Unisa in 2008, and four years later I got a learnership at Hygro Training College in Delmas. This is when the college placed me at Qutom Farms in Bapsfontein to do my practical in agriculture.

“I learned a lot at the farm as I got skills to understand the processes of growing and producing tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. After a year on the programme, I applied for a job at the same farm as a general worker, however, I was given the position of an assistant supervisor.

“When I left Qutom Farms, I was by then a production manager and a students’ mentor,” he said.

Nkanyane said he went back home after deciding to start his own farm.

“I started to shop for land in my area, but, it was a costly exercise as 1ha cost R40 000, and I didn’t have such money,” Nkanyane said.

“I approached a family friend, Mr Vincent Rambuwani, who has a big farm in the Mooketsi farmlands. I negotiated with him and he gave me a 26ha piece of land to use, and also provided me with a tractor.

“As an investor, he donated money to the business and I also did my part by investing money in the farm. At the beginning of the business, the aim was to build this dream and I managed to invest in an irrigation drip system and the business started growing,” Nkanyane said.

Nkanyane’s farm produces cabbage, butternut, spinach, beetroot and watermelon. He supplies Spar supermarkets in Tzaneen, Modjajiskloof and Polokwane as well as companies that are involved in school feeding schemes.

His business employs eight workers and he also mentors five students from Hygro Training College and one local youngster.

He said his next quest is to establish a bursary fund for youngsters who want to be in farming and agriculture.

“Having to spend two gap years without getting any funding to study further really troubled me and I want to create a platform for youngsters to continue with their ambitions to get to the top in farming,” he said.

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