By: Tebogo Mokwena
Tshepisho Tladi strongly believes that the support his family’s farm has received from the local community in Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo is proof that they are on the right course. Tladi Farms was started by his parents 24 years ago. While they wanted to improve food security and create jobs, Tladi, who is a mining surveyor by profession, told Vutivi News that he decided to step in as the business manager in 2020 when he realised that the farm needed to start making a profit.
“The farm initially focused on crop farming, and after I joined, I suggested that we introduce livestock,” he said. “However, we kept the livestock in the backyard of our home, and since we live in a village, it became difficult to manage them because the goats and chickens would break out of the yard and roam around the village, entering people’s property and causing problems.
“I suggested to my parents that we relocate the livestock to our 8-hectare crop fields, where there was enough space for them to move freely without restrictions,” he said. Now the farm has sheep, goats, and pigs which they supply to the area. They also grow spinach, beetroot, and onions. Tladi told Vutivi News that he also suggested that the family business turns to poultry farming, as the demand for chickens had grown in the area.
“Instead of focusing on breeding broilers, we decided to focus on breeding indigenous chickens,” he said. “Because we are one of a few such breeders in the area, we have received tremendous support from the community and surrounding villages, which we supply with the chickens. “We have also started breeding layers, and we anticipate that by January we will be able to supply eggs to supermarkets and shops in the area,” he also said. The farm has three permanent employees and three temporary workers He admitted that it took time to employ the right people.
“We chose to employ people from our village, and whenever they would get their first salary, they would disappear and never return to work,” he said. “It was difficult to maintain stability in terms of managing the farm because we would have to teach a new group of employees each time the previous group disappeared.” There were also issues during winter because there was no rain, and the farm had to spend more money on buying feed.
“However, we have started growing our own feed, and are working towards getting our own electricity transformer in the next year,” Tladi said. He is thankful for the support of the community, which Tladi says has helped the farm survive. “Our community believes in us and believes that we are a vehicle of change, and we intend on uplifting the community through our enterprise anyhow we can.”