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Farming project alleviating poverty

Written by Ursula Graaff
Realising that her community at Hekpoort in Gauteng was poverty- stricken, Nthabiseng Thupana decided to do something drastic about it.

In 2007 she started the Sekgutlong Project, which farms chickens, sheep and cows.

It all started in 2006, when her curiosity about farming inspired her to do a course in poultry farming.

“I did not have any experience when it came to farming. So I did my research and registered for a course to learn about poultry farming.”

After completing her course, Thupana identified land that was for sale and she approached the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) for help.

Thupana is a beneficiary of the DRDLR’s Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy, where the department purchases land with high agricultural potential and then selects beneficiaries who can lease it with the option to purchase it.

In 2007 the department bought the land she had identified and that is when her career as a farmer started.

In 2008, Thupana won the Female Farmer of the Year Award.

“I was the first black female around Gauteng producing more than 100 000 birds. You can only get contracts if you are growing more than 100 000 birds.”

“The government expects us to hire youth on our farms, especially in our rural communities. We are expected to groom these young people.

“We sometimes have students from the North West who come to the farm and stay here for two months and do their practicals,” she said.

Aifheli Mamphodo from the DRDLR said the project has made a huge impact by creating jobs for locals.

“The project contributes to food security by producing chickens.”

Thupana said she intends to expand the farm and start producing even more chickens so that she can be the primary supplier of chicken to other retailers.

How to secure land from government:

  • You must complete a standard application form.
  • The department places it on the database.
  • The department will call you for an interview to determine your knowledge of farming.
  • You sign an offer to purchase land that you have identified.
  • The department will assess the land, purchase it and lease it to you, with the option to buy it.