Setbacks are temporary, so don’t give up

Published: 8 May 2023

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Samuel Moloi (52) became obsessed with farming when his father was a farm worker. During the holidays he would watch the production process on the farm. Little did he realise that this ‘holiday activity’ would form the foundation he would need to become the successful farmer he now is.

Apart from this, there were two other big factors that contributed to his success – the first was listening to Radio Lesedi where Samuel heard a talk by Jane McPherson, who was the manager of the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme at the time. She passed on information about courses and study groups that were being presented by Grain SA. Samuel knew that this was how he would gain the necessary agricultural knowledge to kick-start his career as a farmer.

The second factor was when a local commercial farmer heard about this young man’s passion in 2005. ‘He gave me 30 ha of arable land so that I could try my hand at farming. He even offered the use of his tractors and implements for mahala!’ A grateful Samuel jumped at the opportunity and through hard work, turned his dream into a reality. By 2008 he was farming on a total of nearly 400 ha, including arable land which he leased from the Dihlabeng Local Municipality. He now realises approximately 7 t/ha on maize and about 3 t/ha on soybeans. This year heavy rains caused huge problems in the fields, but he remains positive that he will still have a good harvest.

Although he has faced many challenges, Samuel (who is a diabetic and has to go to hospital for dialysis three times a week) has not allowed setbacks and trials to obstruct his dreams. He doesn’t believe in giving up. Without owning a single hectare of land, this enthusiastic farmer has become one of the success stories of the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme.

Samuel’s story

What role has Grain SA played in your farming career?
Knowledge has been the main contributor to my success and I gained most of my knowledge about agricultural practices by attending study group meetings, training courses and farmers days presented by Grain SA. Their mentorship programme is crucial to the success of developing farmers. I cannot thank Grain SA enough.

What is your biggest success story?
It was wonderful to be chosen as the 2009 Grain SA Developing Farmer of the Year and the award was a motivation to improve my farming skills. At the 2022 Day of Celebration, I became a member of the 2 000 Ton Club after I produced 3 200 tons of yellow maize. This shows that I am growing, which is my real success story.

What is your advice to beginner farmers?
Farming is not about owning land, but about having the right skills and knowledge. You also need to be passionate, patient and able to persevere despite adversities.

What is your biggest dream?
I will never stop dreaming about owning my own land, because I have a responsibility to feed the nation. I would also love to see my son follow in my footsteps and become a second-generation farmer.

Farm facts

Farm: Genade
Nearest town: Fouriesburg
Region: Eastern Free State
Size: 920 ha of leased land; he also leases an extra 1 400 ha on ten different farms
Type: Mixed (He plants maize, soybeans and dry beans and has livestock.) Converting to no-till practices

GRAIN SA’S CONTRIBUTION

Joined Grain SA in 2004
Member of the Dishweshwe study group

Training courses completed:
Samuel is proud of the fact that he has completed all the courses offered by Grain SA

A mentor’s view:
Jacques Roux, regional development manager in the eastern Free State, has been visiting Samuel for the past few years. He says that even with Samuel’s health struggles, he is a remarkable farmer as a result of the following three strengths: ‘Firstly, he is an excellent manager whose financial statements and administration are up to date. Secondly, he has a committed team of workers who carry on unsupervised while he is in hospital and thirdly, he does not have to rely on contractors to get the work done as he owns enough equipment.

A special word of thanks to the Sasol Agricultural Trust who became involved in the Farmer Development Programme in 2003. The Sasol Trust aims to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the South African agricultural sector and provides support for enterprise development projects and emerging farmers. The trust also supports initiatives aimed at enhancing education and training programmes for farmers and the agricultural sector at large.