Having a BSc degree in chemistr y from Limpopo University was clearly not enough for potato farmer Erence Phooko (39)to experience real successas a farmer. He required more expertise and more substantial support. He found this by collaborating with NTK and Potatoes SA. Erence, with the help of his wife and children, farms mainly with potatoes on a 30 ha farm which he rents from the tribal authority in the Capricorn area in Limpopo on a 30-year lease agreement.
He sells potatoes to the local market as well as to the public, using seed-potatoes usually regarded as leftover seeds by other farmers, as well as his own leftover potatoes, for his next crop. Erence has also been using conventional sprinklers that have to be moved around by hand, an irrigation system which is ineffective and highly labour-intensive. With fluctuating markets, ineffective farming methods and low quality seeds, progress for Erence seemed highly unlikely.
NTK and Potatoes SA heard about this young, passionate farmer who needed help with his farm, and took him under their wing, with financial aid
from the Jobs Fund project. Under this collaboration, Potatoes SA supplies him with certified quality potato seeds on a sliding scale.The first Mondial potatoes have already been planted on the first rotating 10 ha of Erence’s potato farm in May and June this year. The prospects are already looking good for a successful harvest in November, after which Erence will plant maize.
NTK will continue to support Erence for the next four years to ensure his potato farm is successful,by providing finance for the production as well as managing the project in cooperation with the farmer. Over these four years Erence will increase his farm with another 10ha so that the production cycle consists of 20 ha of potatoes per year as well as 20 ha of green mealies and sweet corn. Erence will therefore own two rotating cycles of 10 ha each, alternating between six circles.
McCain will buy the crops, adequately hedging the price risk. With the help of NTK, Erences situation has improved considerably, making progress a reality for him. He still uses diesel engines for electricity, but has gradually been changing over to mainstream electricity sources. NTK is proud to be involved with this hardworking, conscientious farmer and his family in order to help him achieve his dream of being a successful commercial farmer.
For Erence, however, his passion is not only about his personal successes,but also about creating much needed employment in the rural area where his farm is situated in order to empower his community. NTK is ready to support Erence in this noble quest: for the love of the land.
Source: Potatoes SA