Nkosinathi Makamela beats the odds to become a Successful Small-Scale Farmer
When the country was placed under lockdown in March last year, 3rd-year Animal Production student, Nkosinathi Makamela was mourning the death of his mother and faced the harsh reality of losing the family’s only source of income - a small-scale farm.
The 20-year-old from Dutywa enrolled at UFH in 2019. His field of study was inspired by his late mother, who was a small-scale farmer.
“Both my parents were small-scale farmers. My mother farmed with poultry and pigs while my father farmed with goats, sheep and cattle. That is how they managed to provide for the family. My father could not cope with the loss of my mother. As a result, he struggled to run the farm on his own and we started losing livestock.”
Witnessing how his father was struggling, Makamela refused to let the family’s livelihood die. He decided to do something to help revive the family farm. During lockdown, he decided to use his NSFAS allowance to save the farm.
“I used my NSFAS non-residence allowance for the month of April to buy vegetable seedlings. I started by planting green peppers, carrots, spinach and beetroot - which I sold to the community and in town.”
While his vegetable garden was thriving, Makamela moved on to pig farming. “I made my own bricks and together with my father we built a small piggery.” In July, he used his profit from the vegetable sales to buy eight pigs.
Asked how he balances his studies and farming, Makamela said: “When I am home I ensure I do as much as I can to work the land and care for the livestock, enough to make up for the time when I am on campus.”
The vegetable garden has since grown to produce potatoes and mielies/corn. “We will not sell the mielies, instead it will be used for feeding the pigs,” he explained.
The passionate farmer said his dream is to become a successful large-scale commercial farmer. “My passion for farming was ignited by my parents. Seeing how they were able to put food on the table and provide for us by working the land inspired me greatly. I know no other life but farming.”
For now, he is using whatever means at his disposal to achieve that dream and run the family farm called, Lolo Mixed Farming. Makamela says he is currently engaging the local Chief to acquire more land to further expand his crop.
For now, the young farmer has his eyes set on starting a poultry farm this year. “The plan was always to start small. It does not matter how long it will take me, but the aim is to never stop.”
May his dreams come true.
By Aretha Linden