Eco­nom­ics grad­u­ate beefs up the KZN cat­tle sec­tor

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

AGRI­CUL­TURE is an ex­cit­ing sec­tor filled with ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties that are per­fect for mo­ti­vated, skilled and ex­pe­ri­enced young men and women.

Thabiso Sit­hole is adamant that farm­ing is a spe­cialised busi­ness and not just a job for peo­ple with lim­ited op­tions.

The 27-year-old from Nyamvubu ob­tained de­gree in eco­nom­ics from the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal and he has used this knowl­edge to es­tab­lish him­self as a suc­cess­ful farmer in the prov­ince.

He cur­rently owns a herd of 500 strong cat­tle.

The young­ster, who en­tered the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in 2016, em­ploys six peo­ple.

“I have a de­gree in eco­nom­ics and here I am. For me, farm­ing is a busi­ness,” he said. Sit­hole added that agri­cul­ture is a highly spe­cialised field but one that is ac­ces­si­ble to any­one not afraid of hard work and learn­ing.

He ex­plained that proper cost­ings are es­sen­tial when rais­ing cat­tle. For in­stance, you need to bal­ance the cost of the cat­tle feed and oper­a­tional costs against the price paid by the abat­toir to en­sure that a profit is re­alised.

He cau­tioned that live­stock farm­ing gen­er­ates in­come only at a spe­cific time of the year.

Sit­hole ac­knowl­edged the help he re­ceived from gov­ern­ment. He ex­plained that the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of agri­cul­ture bought a 825-hectare farm which was equally di­vided be­tween mem­bers of the Nyamvubu co-op­er­a­tive of which he is a part. Beef cat­tle are kept and veg­eta­bles grown by the men and women who are mem­bers of the co-op­er­a­tive.

“Work­ing to­gether as a co-op­er­a­tive helps us a lot as it en­cour­ages each one of us to work hard. Even though we work as in­di­vid­u­als, from time-to-time we meet to share chal­lenges and find so­lu­tions to­gether. If we need to buy med­i­ca­tion, we all con­trib­ute and do a bulk pur­chase at a dis­counted rate.”

Sit­hole said he owes his suc­cess to hard work, ded­i­ca­tion and the men­tor­ship he has re­ceived from other farm­ers. He said one of his pri­or­i­ties now is to in­crease his live­stock to at least 5 000.

“Gov­ern­ment has helped us; I now need to step up and do what it takes to grow my busi­ness,” he said.

Sit­hole’s ad­vice to aspir­ing farm­ers is to work hard and be 100 per­cent com­mit­ted to what they do. “Live­stock farm­ing needs you all the time, so it is im­por­tant to love what you do,” he said.

The young live­stock farmer Thabiso Sit­hole sees farm­ing as a busi­ness.

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