A young farmer with a dream to end unemployment and grow his business is making his mark in the agricultural sector.
Godfrey Mathebula (32) hails from Plange Village in Malamulele, Limpopo. He has won several awards from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
He said the awards were the fruits of his hard work and love for agriculture. “I love farming. I don’t see myself doing anything else but being a farmer,” said Mathebula.
He plans to use his passion to create employment, especially in his village. He has one permanent employee and 14 temporary staff but in peak season he employs 24 people.
Mathebula said he decided to start the farm after noticing the high unemployment rate in his home village.
“I saw a lot of people in my community who were unemployed, especially those who live with disabilities. I wanted to do something to create jobs and I saw a chance in farming.” Mathebula understands living with a disability because his left arm was amputated after a train accident.
Mathebula started farming on a small plot in 2006. In 2016, he moved to a 3.5 hectare farm named Macelakuomile. His most recent award was in the Youth Living with Disability category of the national leg of the Youth in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Awards (YAFF) hosted by DAFF.
In the past the DAFF has given recognition to Mathebula not only for his achievements as a young farmer but also for his contribution to agriculture as a person living with a disability.
Mathebula produces various vegetables including dry beans, tomatoes and green peppers. The most recent harvest produced 50 Kilograms of dry beans, 12 crates of tomatoes, 100 crates of green peppers and 1 000 bundles of Chinese spinach.
“I sell my produce to Pick n Pay, Shoprite and to businesses in Pretoria and Johannesburg,” said Mathebula.
He said he is grateful for the support he has received from government. In the past, the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had provided seeds, baked beans and manure as well as equipment for applying pesticides.
In addition to the vegetables he also raises goats and pigs which he sells to the local community.
Mathebula has big dreams for his farm, hoping to grow it to such an extent that he can export produce to Europe and Asia.