Just about 30 km’s away from Alice town in the Eastern Cape, resides a farmer by the name Mhlobo Mbane.
Mbane is a goat and poultry farmer and he farms with the Boer goats, free-range indigenous goats and broiler chicks on 3 shed.
The size of his chicken sheds is 14 m x 4 big. He started his farming enterprise in 2011 with the 60 Boer goats and now has expanded the enterprise to include chickens.
In September 2012, he won numerous awards from Eskom Business Development Foundation as Second Runner up in the Agriculture and Agro-processing category at provincial and national level.
In 2010, he received a NERPO Entrepreneur of the Year.
Mhlobo Mbane also plays a key role in the structure of various farmers associations and unions at local, provincial, and national levels. His company is called VEGADO and it employs 4 workers on a full-time basis.
The company is accredited with the AgriSETA and it runs learnership and short skills training programmes targeting the unemployed youth in his village. They are currently training 12 learners from Mxumbu Youth Agric Co-Co-operative and 20 learners from the Abelimi Farming Co-operative.
He is quite positive that the agricultural sector has big role to play in terms of job creation and alleviating poverty in this country. The current MEC of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Eastern Cape Nomakhosazana Meth has also shown great interest in various commodities that were often neglected in terms of budget allocation.
“She always heard our pleas that the poultry commodity should be included in the key programmes of the department. Since then the Eastern Cape Poultry Farmers’ Co-operative has been invited on the stakeholder engagements that are taking place across the province,” said Mbane.
Mbane sells live broilers to the vendors and upcoming small scale farmers across the province. The challenges that he is currently faced with is the high feed costs and non-availability of the chicken abattoir that is close by.
He would like to slaughter his chickens and sell to some of the retail stores in his area.
His other challenge is the drought that has led to huge losses of his baby goats.