A thriving Mpumalanga farmer and student of a government-funded training course on organic farming, Njabulo Mabaso is making waves on social media with his crop farming tips.
With just over six months’ experience working on a two-hectare plot, Mabaso (27), based in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, has been taking his learnings and sowing seeds of interest with over 10 000 TikTok followers. His videos are about his daily activities on the farm and giving advice to people.
“I read a lot. I’m not referring to academic books but any material that teaches you something. I also enjoy sharing knowledge with other people, hence I link up with them via TikTok,” he says.
Currently growing cabbage, potatoes, chillies and spinach, Mabaso also produces butternut, tomatoes and beetroot.
He says with the unemployment challenge, people need to create opportunities for themselves and therefore his videos aim to help those interested in farming. Mabaso says his family has always ‘worked the land’ and even though he was young, he remembers a lot from that time.
“There is a misconception that agriculture is for the uneducated and we need to work against that because it’s not true.”
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development visited Mabaso earlier this year and offered him a training course on growing spinach organically.
“I want to specialise in growing spinach and supply it to the whole of Mpumalanga. As I develop and my work expands I will only focus on spinach, so this course will come in handy,” he explains.
Explaining his journey into farming, Mabaso says when he lost his job in April last year, he spoke to his cousin who supported his dream of farming and so he found a piece of land to rent.
“The community has been supportive. Many people buy my produce and I also supply the local shop. This has encouraged me to keep going despite the challenges,” he says.
Although he has been offered opportunities to relocate to other farms, Mabaso is focused on Mpumalanga.
“I want a greenhouse to grow spinach, even in winter. My long-term goal is to have greenhouses in different locations, like Nhlazatshe, Volksrust and Middleburg, so I can supply retailers,” he says.
His National Diploma in Marketing, from Mangosuthu University of Technology, has come in handy because it gave him confidence to approach retailers, he says.