At just the age of 26, Botsile Sophy Ramadikela, is a farm manager for Matlhonyane Commercial Piggery. The piggery company is based in Mafikeng, specialising in farrow to finishing.
As a farm manager, Botsile is aware of the heavy responsibilities put upon her shoulders. “It’s not easy as now one has to implement biosecurity measures at the farm including the Pork 360 quality assurance measures” she says.
Botsile was born and bred in Dithakong Village, Mafikeng and currently lives with her parents and siblings. She was not shy to express that she came from a poor family background, but through her parents hard-earned incomed, they managed to put her through university.
“My mother is working as a domestic worker and my father has been unemployed. My mother paid for my tertiary tuition in order for me to follow my dream. It was hard in the beginning but I managed to make her proud. I graduated with a Diploma in Animal Science at North West University” she says.
Her love for farming easily made her fall in love with piggery and to pursue studies in animal science.
Talk of the shortage of black piggery farmers, Bostile debunked the myth and said what scared people in her own opinion was the perception that piggery required a high capital investment.
“Piggery is not hard it only needs time, commitment, applied skills and best animal welfare practices. With the right technical expertise, a black piggery farmer can be successful. I have come across several black piggery farmers from all provinces making it with selective ease. ”
She does however concede that piggery production had its own inherent risks as much like any new farmer starting. Her advice for youth wishing to enter piggery production is to be passionate about piggery, as it was a 365-day job without rest.
Botsile adds: “it’s about passion, don’t do piggery for the sake of wanting to make money because the more you love your animals is the more you will become successful in production.”
Also, having a mentor at her corner tipped the scales and propelled her further.
“My mentor Jack Mothapo helped me develop greatly in this journey because of the knowledge and experience he possesses. Tapping into such wealth, any young farmer can be successful.”
Being a farm manager does come with its own headaches. As a young female farm manager, she had to come across many challenges especially issuing directives to older employees.
Botsile was looking forward to start her own piggery production in future and was excited about the prospects of black youths in Mafikeng moving into piggery production.