Ipeleng Kwadi is making a success of her farming business locally, but she has her eye set on supplying the African continent.
Kwadi (29), from Brits, in North West, is a livestock farmer and recently ventured into vegetable farming and horticulture.
She grew up in a household that was passionate about farming and says her father taught her and her siblings about farming, nature conservation and business management.
“Growing up I had to feed the chickens, open the kraal for the goats and make sure they return. I had to make sure that sick goats got medical attention and, during birthing, I would make sure that animals were comfortable. I paid attention to small details,” she says.
To gain more knowledge, Kwadi did short courses to develop her agricultural skills.
In 2012, she worked on a family cattle farm, helping to manage the cattle, which gave her the confidence to start her own farm.
Kwadi previously worked for the Department of Basic Education. She resigned and used her pension to start her business. With 15 hectares of land ready to use, Kwadi is looking forward to expanding.
She has 11 employees, six of whom are permanent.
Kwadi also works at the North West Premier’s office as a mentor to young farmers. “This initiative takes us into remote villages to find those who farm silently.”
One of the highlights of her career has been uplifting other women. “I love being a role model in society, especially to girls,” she says.
Kwadi’s tips for emerging farmers
- Research the type of farming you want to do and be clear about your goals.
- Develop your business model and start small.
- Take well-calculated risks. Don't think agriculture is easy. Farming needs passion because sometimes you may lose your investment.
- Join emerging farmers’ networks on social media.
- Make use of what you have. Government funding will find you on the way.