Budding mixed farming prodigy, Kelebohile Matsose, produces her own chia plant tea, called Feel Good Tea, from her recently acquired farm in Makwassie, near Wolmaransstad - Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality.
After relative success in livestock and crop farming, Matsose in 2022 turned to producing her own tea. This was after she was introduced to chia tea and flax seeds while attending an Agricultural Research Council training programme.
“At first we didn’t do crops. We were only doing vegetables and it was only in 2022 that we started growing crops. We were planting spinach, green peppers, cabbages and chillies. We mainly grew spinach because it is in high demand, locally and at fresh produce markets,” she remarked.
She research more about the seeds and their benefits. She then realised that she could make tea from them and that is how it all started for Matsose.
After growing the experimental seeds, she dried them, packaged and put them out to the market.
Currently, the tea is sold on social media platforms. Plans are afoot to set-up an online store.
“We are targeting the elderly because they have to boost their immune system. They take the tea for arthritis and it also regulates sugar levels and high blood pressure,” she enthused.
Her farming journey began when a municipal officer visited her family to relay neighbours’ complaints about the stench caused by her father’s cows and goats.
Raised in a subsistence farming family, the 30-year-old began farming in 2016 when she was 22 years old. This was after she was unable to get a job, despite obtaining an N6 in civil engineering from Motheo TVET College.
“The official advised us to approach the [Maquassie Hills] Municipality to see if we can’t lease a plot of land. The municipality gave us a five-hectare plot,” she said.
Initially she started with the Vulamehlo Majara vegetable farming project, extending the plot size to 19 hectares. Matsose last year purchased the land from the Municipality.
To help Vulamehlo Majara reach its full potential, the North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) offered assistance. In the 2018/19 financial year, the READ funded the installation of a security fence, knapsack sprayer, borehole testing and equipping. During the 2019/20 financial year the project was funded for construction of a 30x30m shade net, expansion of a 60 000L water reservoir, electricity connection, palisade fence equipped with alarm system and supply of production inputs.
The Department has further assisted Matsose with a 12m marine container, with steel sinks, tables and shelves, mobile cold room, harvesting crates and packaging/processing equipment.
Currently, the business has three permanent staff. It provides seasonal employment to 12 more people.