Farming business pays



. . . Kabi leads by example


MASERU – In a 10-year journey that has seen him become one of the successful local commercial farmers in a cut-throat industry, the newly appointed minister of agriculture Nkaku Kabi is upbeat about farming and dares anyone to try it. The self-made farmer, who is also Member of Parliament for the Qeme constituency, says he makes approximately M300 000 in two sales of 30 rams in June and December of each year.

Always willing and passionate about sharing farming techniques and ideas with friends and followers on his Facebook page, Kabi says he was jobless in 2010 when he decided to try farming out and he has never looked back. “Yes, if you are seriously considering venturing into agriculture and you are passionate about it, I can promise you will never go wrong,” he says.

Just over a decade ago, Kabi says an individual in Tweespruit offered to grow him 40 acres of beans and sunflower. “He proved trustworthy when he gave me plus-minus 400K after the harvest,” he adds. When he came back home in Qeme, Kabi says he decided to buy his first tractor with some of the money and then in 2013 commenced charging cash for his ploughing services.

“Some would offer sheep depending on the acreage and I love the sheep. They multiplied and I registered at a woolshed and I was called a farmer. I increased my flock and ended up producing rams.” Kabi says he makes at least M24 000 a month on the sales of 80 litres of milk at M10 a litre in the industrial areas during the morning and afternoon hours, adding that he also receives another cheque for the rest of the milk that is sold to the dairy.

Kabi says the value chain is great. The maize from his fields is processed and sold to consumers. He has also diversified into buying wool and some of it is bartered for the mealie-meal, which is processed in the milling plants he owns in three districts.

“The money we pay for the wool – they give it back paying for the mealie-meal,” he says. “As we process the maize there’s also the byproducts of offal and bran which make animal feed, thus making good profit with fewer costs on milk production.” Recently, he has packaged the processed maize into bags weighing the standard 12.5 kg, 25kg and 50kg. “One step at a time,” Kabi says.

He says he also breeds dogs which sell between M2 000 and M4 000 a month depending on the breed, which gives him M40 000 a quarter. “I bet 2016 was when agriculture gave me the assurance that farming is the way to go,” says Kabi. In a recent cabinet reshuffle of October 13, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing.



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