Successfully managing a farm is hard, due to nature being unpredictable; only resilient and passionate farmers can survive. Two Limpopo crop farmers are finding ways to work in harmony with nature despite the challenges they face.
Producing crops that are enjoyed by many South Africa means their harvests are always in demand and they can co-exist peacefully. Martin Munzhedzi the founder of Dzudzanani Greenery grows chillies, okra, green beans as well as habanero and green peppers on eight hectares of land. He sells his produce at the Johannesburg Market, a large distribution hub that is a member of the World Union of Wholesale Markets. He sells to traders, chefs and locals who want to stock up on fresh produce.
Phillip Kgapane, a specialized farmer that grows tomatoes on 30 hectares of family-owned land, and the founder of The Veggie Guy, on the other hand sells his tomatoes to food and grocery retailers in Limpopo like Steers, Pick n Pay, Nandos, Spur and many more.
Challenges come in different forms, for Martin his biggest challenge was caused by COVID19 lockdown restrictions. The demand for his chillies and peppers was low when restaurants were closed, because a lot of his stock is purchased by chefs and restaurateurs. “Those were tough months, I had to sell my crops at a lower price because the demand was low” says Martin. He was also affected by bad weather and he is doing damage control on his farm.
In the first quarter of 2021, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry decreased at a rate of 3,2%. The success of this sector is vital because it creates seasonal jobs, improves the local economy and helps in the development of rural areas.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com