Matoba farms ‘God’s way’ to success



MASERU – Moluba Matoba is a dynamic young commercial farmer from Tšifa-li-Mali, Hlotse in the Leribe district. She operates a thriving farming business named Hope Farms, specialising in the production of various vegetables and field crops, predominantly green maize and pinto beans. Matoba (MM) clinched the third prize at the Young Female Farmers Award during the Farmers’ Pitso Awards last September, and she shares insights into her journey as a farmer in the following interview with Public Eye (PE) reporter, ’Mathato Seboka.

PE: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your origins?

MM: My name is Molula Matoba, a 29-year-old originally from Tšifa-li-Mali, Hlotse, in Leribe, but currently residing in Alwayn’s Kop, Quthing. I come from a family of two children, including my brother and myself.

PE: Reflecting on your childhood, how would you describe it?

MM: Growing up in a large family, I was raised by my strict but respected grandmother. Her influence played a pivotal role in shaping me into the godly, responsible, and hardworking woman I am today.

PE: What is your educational background?

MM: I attended Hlotse LEC Primary School and Pitseng High School. Following high school, I enrolled in Growing Nations, completing the one-year farming programme in 2017, earning certificates in Farming God’s Way and Godly Leadership. Additionally, I obtained certification from the Bountiful Grains Trust in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I served as a head farmer at Living Waters Farm in Cambodia, where I managed the farm and provided training to local farmers.

PE: What inspired you to venture into farming?

MM: The inspiration for farming came during my time at Growing Nations, where I discovered a passion for agriculture. In 2022, I became an accredited Farming God’s Way trainer in Durban, Kwazulu Natal.

PE: When did the idea of becoming a farmer first take root?

MM: In 2016, unable to apply to university, I learned about Growing Nations through an aunt in Mohale’s Hoek. Opting for their farming programme, I embraced the opportunity to avoid staying idle at home.

PE: Have you employed individuals in your business?

MM: Yes, I have one person on my team who has been a tremendous blessing to both me and Hope Farms.

PE: What challenges did you encounter when starting farming, and how did you overcome them?

MM: Drought has been a persistent challenge, impacting our yield and sometimes causing crop losses. Overcoming this involves trusting in God’s provision for rain, with plans to invest in shade screens. Livestock consumption of vegetables was another challenge, resolved through communication with animal owners and the intervention of the area chief. Water scarcity, reliant on community sources, remains an ongoing challenge during droughts.

PE: Beyond farming, do you have additional income streams?

MM: Currently, my focus is on farming, but I previously sold paraffin.

PE: Describe the type of farming you engage in and the sources of your inputs.

MM: I work with a group of local farmers called Farming God’s Way, a godly solution towards addressing food security and poverty in rural communities. Utilising inputs from my community, such as cow manure, wood ash, and God’s blanket (dry grass for mulching), I purchase seeds and fertilisers at affordable prices from agricultural outlets.

PE: How did you secure the capital to start your farming business?

MM: Start-up funds were providentially provided by a friend willing to invest in Hope Farms.

PE: Why did you choose farming over other youth entrepreneurship options?

MM: Initially I aspired to be a journalist but my path changed in 2016 when God led me towards farming, and my love for it blossomed.

PE: Are you receiving support from the Ministry of Agriculture?

MM: While not directly supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, I am currently collaborating with the Agricultural Productivity Programme Africa (APPSA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, participating in their tomato pests and disease management study programme.

PE: How accessible is assistance from experts when needed as a young farmer?

MM: For crop farming, accessing soil experts in Quthing proves challenging, as most of them are based in Maseru. However, I have a reliable network of Farming God’s Way farmers and trainers specialising in crop production.

PE: Where do you envision yourself as a farmer in the next five years?

MM: I aim to establish a sustainable and profitable farm, and generating income and employment opportunities within my community. Additionally, I aspire to offer training nationwide.

PE: How do you go about training other farmers?

MM: Training sessions are typically initiated with individuals from my church and community expressing interest in farming. Local organisations have also approached me to train their staff. During these sessions, I employ Farming God’s Way principles.

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