Pig farmer Dinewo Ntshanana (25) is one of the many entrepreneurs who have been assisted by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to get her business off the ground.
Ntshanana, the owner of a piggery in Middelvlei, Randfontein, applied for NYDA grant funding after taking part in the agency’s seven-day business management training course.
She used the funding to buy medication, feed, disinfectant and personal protective equipment for her business, Umbuso Wakho Farming, which has 2.5 hectares of land.
“We breed our pigs, mainly Landrace and Large White, naturally,” says Ntshanana, who studied Primary Agriculture NC(V) at the South West Gauteng Technical and Vocational Education and Training College.
She aims to grow her pigs as organically as possible, to ensure that she also caters for people who have food allergies.
She says she chose pig farming because it is a profitable business in South Africa. “Pigs have a high production rate… One sow, depending on her breeding levels, can give birth to up to 16 piglets at least twice a year, and pigs only take seven to eight months to mature.”
To make her farm as sustainable as possible, Ntshanana uses pig manure to fertilise the strawberries that she also grows on the farm. These are sold to nurseries and private individuals.
Ntshanana is enjoying her farming journey. “Learning how the pigs react to different conditions and how they live helps me understand them a bit more. This helps me to provide a better environment for them to reproduce naturally and avoid health complications.”
While she admits it can be challenging at times, as she has to ensure that the pigs are well fed and that she has medication in case of illness, her passion and dream to make life better for herself and her family keep her motivated.
Ntshanana has two part-time employees, but says she does most of the work as the farm is still in its infancy.
Her advice to aspiring farmers is to have patience. “Having a mentor or experienced person around for advice and guidance is helpful.”