Faith like a farmer

By Drum Digital
10 July 2019
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The power of following your dreams and hoping for a better tomorrow through farming

Amos Keabetswe Njoro lives and farms on Vlakplaas 53 in Gauteng – about 16km from Vaal in Sebokeng – along with his three children and wife, Anna Masape Njoro.

He had dreams of becoming a teacher “Simply because back then I liked the way they dressed [neat attire] and taught others”. His dreams came to a halt in 1989 when he was unable to study further despite passing matric with exemption. Amos’ parents could not afford to put him through college, but he faithfully applied for bursaries and never gave up.

“I worked as a mine policeman for a month at Bleskop Mine [in Rustenburg], two weeks as a casual at Sun City and two weeks at a leather factory in Mogwase,” Amos says.

The 47-year-old farmer who grew up in a village called Mokgalwaneng in the North West, managed to get a bursary to study at Taung Agricultural College – but did not head to the farm immediately.

Amos made the most of his agricultural studies and had jobs at the department of agriculture, worked as an agronomist at Senwes, where he consulted on soil management and crop production, and later became the provincial coordinator at Grain SA. He took the leap in 2010 when he applied for a farm and received a grant from the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development. “I started farming full time, offering farming, consultancy and training services from 2011 to date.” Amos, along with his six permanent workers and 50 to 100 casuals per year, work on the farm he leases. They plant 310 hectares of maize and 100 hectares of soya.

He has grain that goes to Senwes and AFGRI silos and some to SAB, while his livestock is sold at auctions for cash flow and to pay his kids’ school fees.

Financing and machinery have been challenging, but the biggest obstacle is land. “Minimum of 500 hectares is what I need to really unleash my capability and potential. However, I believe God will make a way, I will find land soon, or one day.”

On how he copes during tough times, Amos says, “Passion, passion, passion – and love for farming gets me through and faith in God, hence the saying, ‘Faith like a farmer’.

“But all this is backed up by hard work and finding alternative ways and plans, as you know ‘’n boer maak ’n plan’. Diversifying accordingly also helped so I don’t rely on one source of income. Drought did affect me but insuring my crops also helped lot.”

Amos was fortunate enough to receive additional training, mentorship and financial assistance from AFGRI, the leading agricultural services company, so he continues to give back the same assistance to future farmers, offering internship support to students and graduates.

The inspiring farmer worked to further his studies, completing his BTech in agricultural management, project management and got other certificates, including AgriSeta (Agriculture Sector Education Training Authority) accreditation for his company, Yarona Temo Agricultural Consultancy and Supplier. Overall, his extensive experience helped him be a better farmer today. “Throughout my career my responsibility has always been to advise, guide and teach farmers on ways to produce accordingly and be profitable.”

On his hopes for the future? “One step at a time. I want to acquire land and the rest will follow. I want to be big in farming, to be fully commercial and add value to the economy through more job creation and food security.

“No farmer, no food, no farmer, no future. Amen.” Amos highlights how grateful he is for all the blessings to date. “Most of all, all the support from my wife, kids and my mother for raising a farmer like me.”

Here’s more on Amos’ journey:

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