Young farmer milks 800 cows

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - More Mat­shediso

IN TEN YEARS, a young agri­cul­ture grad­u­ate has worked his way up from trainee to ma­jor­ity owner of a now thriv­ing en­ter­prise.

Tshilidzi Mat­shidzula (30) is a dairy farmer whose mix of pas­sion and ed­u­ca­tion has made him a suc­cess.

Af­ter com­plet­ing his Na­tional Diploma in an­i­mal pro­duc­tion at the Tsh­wane Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in 2007, he be­came a trainee at Mat­shi­bele Pty (Ltd), a dairy farm in Port El­iz­a­beth in the East­ern Cape.

“At the time, the busi­ness was still try­ing to get off the ground. It had 49 cows and was owned by about 18 mem­bers,” he told Vuk’uzen­zele.

Within a year, he was tasked with manag­ing the busi­ness and he ran with the op­por­tu­nity.

In the space of two years, Mat­shidzula and two other mem­bers who owned the farm man­aged to buy out the other mem­bers of the busi­ness and now the three of them have full own­er­ship.

Mat­shidzula owns 40 per­cent while the other two own 30 per­cent each. As the direc­tor of the busi­ness, he is re­spon­si­ble for many of the ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sions. Un­der his lead­er­ship, the busi­ness is boom­ing and is now milk­ing about 800 cows, pro­duc­ing around four mil­lion litres of milk per an­num.

The farm has a 50-point ro­tary milk­ing par­lour which takes about one-and-a-half-hours to do the milk­ing each morn­ing and af­ter­noon.

The milk is taken to Coega Dairy which dis­trib­utes its prod­ucts un­der the Coastal View brand in se­lected re­tail and whole­sale out­lets across South Africa.

Mat­shi­bele has cre­ated em­ploy­ment for 15 per­ma­nent work­ers and trained eight uni­ver­sity grad­u­ates while tak­ing in sea­sonal work­ers from time to time.

In just over 10 years, the farm has re­ceived a string of ac­co­lades for its ster­ling work, in­clud­ing the 2018 Youth in Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries (YAFF) Award.

Mat­shidzula said win­ning the YAFF Award for Agri­cul­tural Ex­cel­lence is very mean­ing­ful to him be­cause it ac­knowl­edges the role of young peo­ple in agri­cul­ture.

The Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries estab­lished the awards in 2016 to cel­e­brate and en­cour­age youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in the three sec­tors.

Farmer Tshilidzi Mat­shidzula's busi­ness is con­tribut­ing pos­i­tively to the coun­try's agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

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