By: Tebogo Mokwena
The lives of small-scale rural farmers in Limpopo, who struggle to access quality chickens and sheep, have been made easier thanks to farmer Tumisho Ntsoane. Ntsoane started breeding broilers because poultry chicken resellers in his region had to travel over 20km to stock broilers. He then began selling well-bred sheep and lambs to increase the meat quality for both small-scale and commercial farmers.
According to Ntsoane, farmers in Ga-Mphahlele, south of Polokwane, and surrounding areas had to travel long distances to purchase broilers for their existing poultry farms or ones they had just set up. By establishing Tetengwane Boerdery he has helped farmers cut travelling costs and made it easier for them to access broilers. Ntsoane told Vutivi News that because poultry farming became popular for those looking to venture into agriculture, his business grew considerably in a short space of time.
And despite challenges such as the rising costs of chicken feed and the decreasing quality of hatcheries, the poultry business is still going strong. This allowed him to expand into sheep farming. Ntsoane explained that he farmed sheep with a focus on their genetic makeup as his selling point. These included the sheep’s maternal behaviour and its ability to produce more than one lamb. He ensures that the ewes he sells have quality udders, which produce good milk. And the lambs he sells are based on how long it takes for them to reach a particular weight.
His customers are small-scale and commercial farmers in Limpopo. Ntsoane told Vutivi News that he received a lot of support from his family when he started the business, even though he used his tuition money. He said that this was because he was a third-generation farmer and had named the business after his grandfather, Tetengwane. Ntsoane said that his parents decided to take out a loan to pay for his tuition fees because they believed in him. “It was very easy for my family to support me because although my parents worked in the corporate sector and did not farm, farming has always been in their blood,” he said.
“I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture majoring in plant production from the University of Limpopo, but I learned a lot more about farming from experience and from other farmers as well.” While Ntsoane believes that he has reached the ceiling with his poultry farm due to market saturation, he has high aspirations for his sheep farm. He is considering going into sheep breeding in the next few years and wants to establish himself as a reputable sheep breeder.